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loaton Itttuerattjj 

(Eollege at liberal Arto 


^e^YeroWfio, 197.<V N& 








Q r |>e~A*- ARTS 


Sir Mortimer paused, and with a sudden gesture tore the 
rose from his coat and tossed it away 

Page 321 



Author of " The Broad Highway," " The Money Moon,' 
" My Lady Caprice," Etc. 


114-120 East Twenty-third Street - - New York 

Published by Arrangement with Little, Brown. & Company 



^eyl. 3^13x4 

"-, ms, 

Copyright, 1912. 
By The McClure Publications, Incorporated. 

Copyright, 1913, 
By Little, Brown, and Company. 

All rights reserved. 

Published, March, 1913 
Reprinted, May, 1913 






Chapter Page 

I In which Barnabas Knocks Down his Father, though 

as Dutifully as may be 1 

II In which is Much Unpleasing Matter regarding Silk 

Purses, Sows' Ears, Men, and Gentlemen ... 14 

III How Barnabas Set Out for London Town . . . . 18 

IV How Barnabas Fell In with a Pedler of Books, and 

Purchased a " Priceless Wollum " 23 

V In which the Historian Sees Fit to Introduce a Lady 
of Quality ; and Further Narrates How Barnabas 
Tore a Wonderful Bottle-green Coat 29 

VI Of the Bewitchment of Black Eyelashes ; and of a 

Fateful Lace Handkerchief 34 

VII In which may be Found Divers Rules and Maxims 

for the Art of Bowing 43 

VIII Concerning the Captain's Arm, the Bo' sun's Leg, and 

the " Belisarius," Seventy-four 53 

IX Which Concerns Itself, among Other Matters, with 
the Virtues of a Pair of Stocks and the Perversity 
of Fathers . . 57 

X Which Describes a Peripatetic Conversation ... 69 

XI In which Fists are Clenched ; and of a Selfish Man, 

who was an Apostle of Peace 80 

viii Contents 

Chapter Page 
XII Of the Stranger's Tale, which, being Short, may 
perhaps Meet with the Reader's Kind Appro- 
bation 88 

XIII In which Barnabas Makes a Confession ... 91 

XIV Concerning the Buttons of One Milo of Crotona 94 

XV In which the Patient Reader may Learn Some- 
thing of the Gentleman in the Jaunty Hat . 101 

XVI In which Barnabas Engages One without a 

Character 106 

XVII In which Barnabas Parts Company with the 

Person of Quality 114 

XVIII How Barnabas Came to Oakshott's Barn . . . 117 

XIX Which Tells How Barnabas Talks with my Lady 

Cleone for the Second Time 120 

XX Of the Prophecy of One Billy Button, a Madman 1 24 
XXI In which Barnabas Undertakes a Mission . . . 1 33 

XXII In which the Reader is Introduced to an Ancient 

Finger-post • 142 

XXIII How Barnabas Saved his Life — because he was 

Afraid 147 

XXIV Which Relates Something of the « White Lion " 

at Tenterden 155 

XXV Of the Coachman's Story 159 

XXVI Concerning the Duties of a Valet — and a Man 169 

XXVII How Barnabas Bought an Unridable Horse — 

and Rode it 176 

XXVIII Concerning, among Other Things, the Legs of 

a Gentleman-in-powder 204 

Contents ix 

Chapter Page 

XXIX Which Describes Something of the Misfortunes 

of Ronald Barrymaine . . . ' . . . . 219 

XXX In which Ronald Barrymaine Makes his Choice 228 

XXXI Which Describes some of the Evils of Vindic- 

tiveness 234 

XXXII Of Corporal Richard Roe, late of the Grena- 
diers ; and Further Concerning Mr. Shrig's 
Little Reader 244 

XXXIII Concerning the Duty of Fathers ; more Es- 

pecially the Viscount's " Roman "... 256 

XXXIV Of the Luck of Captain Slingsby, of the Guards 268 

XXXV How Barnabas Met Jasper Gaunt, and what 

Came of It 277 

XXXVI Of an Ethical Discussion, which the Reader is 

Advised to Skip 287 

XXXVII In which the Bo' sun Discourses on Love and 

its Symptoms 293 

XXXVIII How Barnabas Climbed a Wall 300 

XXXIX In which the Patient Reader is Introduced to 

an Almost Human Duchess 306 

XL Which Relates Sundry Happenings at the 

Garden Fete 315 

XLI In which Barnabas Makes a Surprising Dis- 
covery, that may not Surprise the Reader in 
the Least 328 

XLII In which shall be Found Further Mention of 

a Finger-post 333 

XLIII In which Barnabas Makes a Bet, and Receives 

a Warning. 343 

x Contents 

Chapter Paoe 

XLIV Of the Tribulations of the Legs of the Gentle- 

man-in-powder 353 

XLV How Barnabas Sought Counsel of the Duchess . 363 

XLVI Which Concerns Itself with Small Things in 

General, and a Pebble in Particular .... 376 

XLVII How Barnabas Found his Manhood .... 381 

XLVIII In which "The Terror," Hitherto Known as 

" Four-Legs/' Justifies his New Name . . . 391 

XLIX Which, being Somewhat Important, is Conse- 
quently Short 395 

L In which Ronald Barrymaine Speaks his Mind 399 

LI Which Tells How and Why Mr. Shrig's Case 

was Spoiled 408 

LII Of a Breakfast, a Roman Parent, and a Kiss . 419 

LIII In which shall be Found some Account of the 

Gentleman's Steeplechase 431 

LIV Which Concerns itself Chiefly with a Letter . . 444 

LV Which Narrates Sundry Happenings at Oak- 

shott's Barn 457 

LVI Of the Gathering of the Shadows 464 

LVII Being a Parenthetical Chapter on Doubt, which, 

though Uninteresting, is very Short . . . 472 

LVI 1 1 How Viscount Devenham Found him a Vis- 
countess 475 

LIX Which Relates, among other Things, How Bar- 
nabas Lost his Hat 479 

LX Which Tells of a Reconciliation 486 

LXI How Barnabas Went to his Triumph .... 491 

Contents xi 

Chapter Page 

LXII Which Tells How Barnabas Triumphed in 

Spite of All .... . 500 

LXIII Which Tells How Barnabas Heard the Tick- 
ing of a Clock 507 

LXIV W T hich Shows Something of the Horrors of 

Remorse 512 

LXV Which Tells How Barnabas Discharged his 

Valet 519 

LXVI Of Certain Con-elusions Drawn by Mr. Shrig 522 

LXVII W T hich Gives some Account of the W T orst Place 

in the World 533 

LXVIII Concerning the Identity of Mr. Bimby's Guest 54*6 

LXIX How Barnabas Led a Hue and Cry . . . . 550 

LXX Which Tells How Barnabas Rode Another 

Race 555 

LXXI Which Tells How Barnabas, in his Folly, Chose 

the Harder Course 562 

LXXI I How Ronald Barrymaine Squared his Account 569 

LXXIII Which Recounts Three Awakenings . . . . 579 

LXXIV How the Duchess Made up her Mind, and 

Barnabas Did the Like 590 

LXXV Which Tells Why Barnabas Forgot his Break- 
fast 596 

LXXVI How the Viscount Proposed a Toast . . . . 600 

LXXVII How Barnabas Rode Homewards, and Took 

Counsel of a Pedler of Books 607 

LXXVIII Which Tells How Barnabas Came Home Again, 

and How he Awoke for the Fourth Time . 6l4? 




John Barty, ex-champion of England and landlord of 
the " Coursing Hound," sat screwed round in his chair 
with his eyes yet turned to the door that had closed after 
the departing lawyer fully five minutes ago, and his eyes 
were wide and blank, and his mouth (grim and close- 
lipped as a rule) gaped, becoming aware of which, he 
closed it with a snap, and passed a great knotted fist 
across his brow. 

" Barnabas," said he slowly, " I beant asleep an' 
dreaming be I, Barnabas? " 

"No, father!" 

" But — seven — 'undred — thousand — pound. It were 
seven — 'undred thousand pound, were n't it, Barnabas ? " 

" Yes, father ! " 

" Seven — 'undred - — thou — ! No ! I can't believe it, 
Barnabas my bye." 

" Neither can I, father," said Barnabas, still staring 
down at the papers which littered the table before him. 

" Nor I are n't a-going to try to believe it, Barnabas." 

" And yet — here it is, all written down in black and 
white, and you heard what Mr. Crabtree said? " 

" Ah, — I heered, but arter all Crabtree 's only a 
lawyer — though a good un as lawyers go, always been 
honest an' square wi' me — leastways I 've never caught 
him trying to bamboozle John Barty yet — an' what the 
eye don't ob-serve the heart don't grieve, Barnabas my 
bye, an' there y' are. But seven 'undred thousand pounds 

2 The Amateur Gentleman 

is coming it a bit too strong — if he 'd ha' knocked off 
a few 'undred thousand I could ha' took it easier Barna- 
bas, but, as it is — no, Barnabas ! " 

" It 's a great fortune ! " said Barnabas in the same 
repressed tone and with his eyes still intent. 

" Fortun', " repeated the father, " f ortun' — it 's 
fetched me one in the ribs — low, Barnabas, low ! — it 's 
took my wind an' I 'm a-hanging on to the ropes, lad. 
Why, Lord love me ! I never thought as your uncle Tom 
'ad it in him to keep hisself from starving, let alone make 
a fortun' ! My scapegrace brother Tom — poor Tom as 
sailed away in a emigrant ship (which is a un-common 
bad kind of a ship to sail in — so I 've heered, Barnabas) 
an' now, to think as he went an' made all that fortun' — 
away off in Jamaiky — out o' vegetables." 

" And lucky speculation, father — ! " 

" Now, Barnabas," exclaimed his father, beginning to 
rasp his fingers to and fro across his great, square, shaven 
chin, "why argufy? Your uncle Tom was a planter — 
very well! Why is a man a planter — because he plants 
things, an' what should a man plant but vegetables? 
So Barnabas, vegetables I says, an' vegetables I abide 
by, now an' hereafter. Seven 'undred thousand pound 
all made in Jamaiky — out o' vegetables — an' there 
j 9 are ! " 

Here John Barty paused and sat with his chin 'twixt 
finger and thumb in expectation of his son's rejoinder, 
but finding him silent, he presently continued: 

" Now what astonishes an' fetches me a leveller as 
fair doubles me up is — why should my brother Tom 
leave all this money to a young hop o' me thumb like 
you, Barnabas? you, as he never see but once and you 
then a infant (and large for your age) in your blessed 
mother's arms, Barnabas, a-kicking an' a-squaring away 
wi' your little pink fists as proper as ever I seen inside 
the Ring or out. Ah, Barnabas ! " sighed his father 
shaking his head at him, " you was a promising infant, 
likewise a promising bye ; me an' Natty Bell had great 

Barnabas Knocks down his Father 3 

hopes of ye, Barnabas ; if you 'd been governed by me 
and Natty Bell you might ha' done us all proud in the 
Prize Ring. You was cut out for the ' Fancy.' Why, 
Lord ! you might even ha', come to be Champion o' Eng- 
land in time — you 're the very spit o' what I was when I 
beat the Fighting Quaker at Dart ford thirty years ago." 

" But you see, father — " 

" That was why me an' Natty Bell took you in hand 

— learned you all we knowed o' the game — an' there 
are n't a fighting man in all England as knows so much 
about the Noble Art as me an' Natty Bell." 

" But father — " 

" If you 'd only followed your nat'ral gifts, Barnabas, I 
say you might ha' been Champion of England to-day, wi' 
Markisses an' Lords an' Earls proud to shake your hand 

— if you 'd only been ruled by Natty Bell an' me. I 'm 
disappointed in ye, Barnabas — an' so 's Natty Bell." 

" I 'm sorry, father — but as I told you — " 

" Still Barnabas, what ain't to be, ain't — an' what is, 

is. Some is born wi' a nat'ral love o' the * Fancy ' an' 

gift for the game, like me an' Natty Bell — an' some wi' 

a love for reading out o' books an' a-cyphering into books 

— like you : though a reader an' a writer generally has a 
hard time on it an' dies poor — which, arter all, is only 
nat'ral — an' there y' are ! " 

Here John Barty paused to take up the tankard of 
ale at his elbow, and pursed up his lips to blow off the 
foam, but in that moment, observing his son about to 
speak, he immediately set down the ale untasted and 
continued : 

" Not as I quarrels wi' your reading and writing, 
Barnabas, no, and because why? Because reading and 
writing is apt to be useful now an' then, and because it 
were a promise — as I made — to — your mother. When 

— your mother were alive, Barnabas, she used to keep all 
my accounts for me. She likewise larned me to spell 
my own name wi' a capital G for John, an' a capital B 
for Barty, an' when she died, Barnabas (being a infant, 

4 The Amateur Gentleman 

you don't remember), but when she died, lad! I was 
that lost — that broke an' helpless, that all the fight were 
took out o' me, and it 's a wonder I did n't throw up the 
sponge altogether. Ah ! an' it 's likely I should ha' 
done but for Natty Bell." 

" Yes, father — " 

" No man ever 'ad a better friend than Natty Bell — 
Ah! yes, though I did beat him out o' the Champion- 
ship which come very nigh breaking his heart at the 
time, Barnabas; but — as I says to him that day as they 
carried him out of the ring — it was arter the ninety- 
seventh round, d' ye see, Barnabas — ' what is to be, is, 
Natty Bell,' I says, ' an' what ain't, ain't. It were 
ordained,' I says, * as I should be Champion o' England,' 
I says — ' an' as you an' me should be friends — now an' 
hereafter,' I says — an' right good friends we have been, 
as you know, Barnabas." 

" Indeed, yes, father," said Barnabas, with another 
vain attempt to stem his father's volubility. 

" But your mother, Barnabas, your mother, God rest 
her sweet soul ! — your mother were n't like me — no nor 
Natty Bell — she were away up over me an' the likes o' 
me — a wonderful scholard she were, an' — when she died, 
Barnabas — " here the ex-champion's voice grew un- 
certain and his steady gaze wavered — sought the sanded 
floor — the raftered ceiling — wandered down the wall 
and eventually fixed upon the bell-mouthed blunderbuss 
that hung above the mantel, " when she died," he con- 
tinued, " she made me promise as you should be taught 
to read an' cypher — an' taught I 've had you accord- 
ing — for a promise is a promise, Barnabas — an' there 
y' are." 

" For which I can never be sufficiently grateful, both 
to her — and to you ! " said Barnabas, who sat with his 
chin propped upon his hand, gazing through the open 
lattice to where the broad white road wound away 
betwixt blooming hedges, growing ever narrower till it 
vanished over the brow of a distant hill. 

Barnabas Knocks down his Father 5 

" Not as I holds wi' eddication myself, Barnabas, as 
you know," pursued his father, " but that 's why you was 
sent to school, that 's why me an' Natty Bell sat by quiet 
an' watched ye at your books. Sometimes when I 've 
seen you a-stooping your back over your reading, or 
cramping your fist round a pen, Barnabas, why — I 've 
took it hard, Barnabas, hard, I '11 not deny — But Natty 
Bell has minded me as it was her wish and so — why — 
there y' are." 

It was seldom his father mentioned to Barnabas the 
mother whose face he had never seen, upon which rare 
occasions John Barty's deep voice was wont to take on a 
hoarser note, and his blue eyes, that were usually so 
steady, would go wandering off until they fixed them- 
selves on some remote object. Thus he sat now, leaning 
back in his elbow chair, gazing in rapt attention at the 
bell-mouthed blunderbuss above the mantel, while his 
son, chin on fist, stared always and ever to where the 
road dipped, and vanished over the hill — leading on and 
on to London, and the great world beyond. 

"She died, Barnabas — just twenty-one years ago — 
buried at Maidstone where you were born. Twenty-one 
years is a longish time, lad, but memory 's longer, an' 
deeper, — an' stronger than time, arter all, an' I know that 
her memory will go wi' me — all along the way — d' ye 
see lad: and so Barnabas," said John Barty lowering his 
gaze to his son's face, " so Barnabas, there y' are." 

" Yes, father ! " nodded Barnabas, still intent upon 
the road. 

" And now I come to your uncle Tom — an' speaking 
of him — Barnabas my lad, — what are ye going to do wi' 
all this money ? " 

Barnabas turned from the window and met his 
father's eye. 

" Do with it," he began, " why first of all — " 

" Because," pursued his father, " we might buy the 
6 White Hart ' — t' other side o' Sevenoaks, — to be sure 
you 're over young to have any say in the matter — still 

6 The Amateur Gentleman 

arter all the money 's yours, Barnabas — what d' ye say to 
the 'White Hart'?" 

" A very good house ! " nodded Barnabas, stealing a 
glance at the road again — " but — " 

" To be sure there 's the ' Running Horse,' " said his 
father, "just beyond Purley on the Brighton Road — a 
coaehing-house, wi' plenty o' custom, what d' ye think o' 
the ' Running Horse '? " 

" Any one you choose, father, but — " 

" Then there 's the ' Sun in the Sands ' on Shooter's 
Hill — a fine inn an' not to be sneezed at, Barnabas — we 
might take that." 

" Just as you wish, father, only — " 

" Though I 've often thought the 6 Greyhound ' at 
Croydon would be a comfortable house to own." 

*' Buy whichever you choose, father, it will be all one 
'to me ! " 

" Good lad ! " nodded John, " you can leave it all to 
Natty Bell an' me." 

" Yes," said Barnabas, rising and fronting his father 
across the table, " you see I intend to go away, sir." 

"Eh?" exclaimed his father, staring — "go away — 
where to? " 

"To London!" 

" London ? and what should you want in London — 
a slip of a lad like you? " 

" I 'm turned twenty-two, father ! " 

" And what should a slip of a lad of twenty-two want 
in London? You leave London alone, Barnabas. London 
indeed ! what should you want wi' London ? " 

" Learn to be a gentleman." 

"A — what?" As he spoke, John Barty rose up 
out of his chair, his eyes wide, his mouth agape with 
utter astonishment. As he encountered his son's look, 
however, his expression slowly changed from amazement 
to contempt, from contempt to growing ridicule, and 
from ridicule to black anger. John Barty was a very 
tall man, broad and massive, but, even so, he had to look 

Barnabas Knocks down his Father 7 

up to Barnabas as they faced each other across the table. 
And as they stood thus eye to eye, the resemblance 
between them was marked. Each possessed the same 
indomitable jaw, the same square brow and compelling 
eyes, the same grim prominence of chin; but there all 
dikeness ended. In Barnabas the high carriage of the 
head, the soft brilliancy of the full, well-opened gray eye, 
the curve of the sensitive nostrils, the sweet set of the 
firm, shapely mouth — all were the heritage of that 
mother who was to him but a vague memory. But now 
while John Barty frowned upon his son, Barnabas 
frowned back at his father, and the added grimness of 
his chin offset the sweetness of the mouth above. 

" Barnabas," said his father at last, " did you say a — 
gentleman, Barnabas? " 


44 What — you?" Here John Barty's frown vanished 
suddenly and, expanding his great chest, he threw back 
his head and roared with laughter. Barnabas clenched 
his fists, and hi» mouth lost something of its sweetness, 
and his eyes glinted through their curving lashes, while 
his father laughed and laughed till the place rang again, 
which of itself stung Barnabas sharper than any blow 
could have done. 

But now having had his laugh out, John Barty 
frowned again blacker than ever, and resting his two 
hands upon the table, leaned towards Barnabas with his 
great, square chin jutted forward, and his deep-set eyes 
narrowed to shining slits — the " fighting face " that had 
daunted many a man ere now. 

" So you want to be a gentleman — hey? " 

" Yes." 

" You are n't crazed in your 'ead, are ye, Barnabas ? " 

" Not that I know of, father." 

" This here f ortun' then — it 's been an' turned your 
brain, that 's what it is." 

Barnabas smiled and shook his head. 

" Listen, father," said he, " it has always been the 

8 The Amateur Gentleman 

dream and ambition of my life to better my condition, 
to strive for a higher place in the world — to be a gentle- 
man. This was why I refused to become a pugilist, as 
you and Natty Bell desired, this was why I worked and 
studied — ah ! a great deal harder than you ever guessed 
— though up till to-day I hardly dared hope my dream 
would ever be realized — but now — " 

" Now you want to go to London and be a gentle- 
man — hey ? " 

" Yes." 

" Which all comes along o' your reading o' fool book ! 
Why, Lord! you can no more become a gentleman than 
I can or the — blunderbuss yonder. And because why? 
Because a gentleman must be a gentleman born, and his 
father afore him, and his father afore him. You, Barna- 
bas, you was born the son of a Champion of England, 
an' that should be enough for most lads ; but your head 's 
chock full o' fool's notions an' crazy fancies, an' as your 
lawful father it 's my bounden duty to get 'em out again, 
Barnabas my lad." So saying, John Barty proceeded to 
take off his coat and belcher neckerchief, and rolled his 
shirt sleeves over his mighty forearms, motioning Barna- 
bas to do the like. 

" A father's duty be a very solemn thing, Barnabas," 
he continued slowly, " an' your 'ead being (as I say) full 
o' wild idees, I 'm going to try to punch 'em out again as a 
well-meaning father should, so help me back wi' the table 
out o' the road, an' off wi' your coat and neckercher." 

Well knowing the utter futility of argument with his 
father at such a time, Barnabas obediently helped to set 
back the table, thus leaving the floor clear, which done, 
he, in turn, stripped off coat and neckcloth, and rolled up 
his sleeves, while his father watched him with sharply 
appraising eye. 

" You peel well, Barnabas," he nodded. " You peel 
like a fighting man, you 've a tidy arm an' a goodish 
.spread o' shoulder, likewise your legs is clean an' straight, 
but your skin 's womanish, Barnabas, womanish, an' your 

Barnabas Knocks down his Father 9 

muscles soft wi' books. So, lad! — are ye ready? Then 
come on." 

Thus, without more ado they faced each other foot to 
foot, bare-armed and alert of eye. For a moment they 
sparred watchfully, then John Barty feinted Barnabas 
into an opening, in that same moment his fist shot out 
and Barnabas measured his length on the floor. 

" Ah — I knowed as much ! " John sighed mournfully 
as he aided Barnabas to his feet, "and 'twere only a 
love-tap, so to speak, — this is what comes o' your book 

" Try me again," said Barnabas. 

" It '11 be harder next time ! " said his father. 

" As hard as you like ! " nodded Barnabas. 

Once more came the light tread of quick-moving feet, 
once more John Barty feinted cunningly — once more his 
fist shot out, but this time it missed its mark, for, ducking 
the blow, Barnabas smacked home two lightning blows 
on his father's ribs and danced away again light and 
buoyant as a cork. 

" Stand up an' fight, lad ! " growled his father, " plant 
your feet square — never go hopping about on your toe- 
points like a French dancing-master." 

" Why as to that, father, Natty Bell, as you know, 
holds that it is the quicker method," here Barnabas 
smote his father twice upon the ribs, " and indeed 
I think it is," said he, deftly eluding the ex-champion's 

" Quicker, hey? " sneered his father, and with the 
words came his fist — to whizz harmlessly past Barnabas's 
ear — " we '11 prove that." 

" Have n't we had almost enough? " inquired Bar- 
nabas, dropping his fists. 

" Enough? why we aren't begun yet, lad." 

" Then how long are we to go on? " 

"How long?" repeated John, frowning; "why — 
that depends on you, Barnabas." 

" How on me, father? " 

io The Amateur Gentleman 

" Are ye still minded to go to London? " 

" Of course." 

" Then we '11 go on till you think better of it — or till 
you knock me down, Barnabas my lad." 

" Why then, father, the sooner I knock you down the 

" What? " exclaimed John Barty, staring, " d' ye mean 
to say — you think you can? — me ? — you?" 

" Yes," nodded Barnabas. 

" My poor lad ! " sighed his father, " your head 's fair 
crazed, sure as sure, but if you think you can knock John 
Barty off his pins, do it, and there y' are." 

" I will," said Barnabas, " though as gently as 

And now they fell to it in silence, a grim silence 
broken only by the quick tread and shuffle of feet and 
the muffled thud of blows. John Barty, resolute of jaw, 
indomitable and calm of eye, as in the days when 
champions had gone down before the might of his fist; 
Barnabas, taller, slighter, but full of the supreme con- 
fidence of youth. Moreover, he had not been the daily 
pupil of two such past masters in the art for nothing; 
and now he brought to bear all his father's craft and 
cunning, backed up by the lightning precision of Natty 
Bell. In all his many hard-fought battles John Barty 
had ever been accounted most dangerous when he smiled, 
and he was smiling now. Twice Barnabas staggered 
back to the wall, and there was an ugly smear upon his 
cheek, yet as they struck and parried, and feinted, 
Barnabas, this quick-eyed, swift-footed Barnabas, was 
smiling also. Thus, while they smiled upon and smote 
each other, the likeness between them was more apparent 
than ever, only the smile of Barnabas was the smile of 
youth, joyous, exuberant, unconquerable. Noting which 
Experienced Age laughed short and fierce, and strode in 
to strike Youth down — then came a rush of feet, the 
panting hiss of breath, the shock of vicious blows, and 
John Barty, the unbeaten ex-champion of all England, 

Barnabas Knocks down his Father 1 1 

threw up his arms, staggered back the length of the room, 
and went down with a crash. 

For a moment Barnabas stood wide-eyed, panting, 
then ran towards him with hands outstretched, but in 
that moment the door was flung open, and Natty Bell 
stood between them, one hand upon the laboring breast 
of Barnabas, the other stretched down to the fallen ex- 

" Man Jack," he exclaimed, in his strangely melodious 
voice* " Oh, John ! — John Barty, you as ever was the 
king o' the milling coves, here 's my hand, shake it. Lord, 
John, what a master o' the Game we 've made of our lad. 
He 's stronger than you and quicker than ever I was. 
Man Jack, 't was as sweet, as neat, as pretty a knock- 
down as ever we gave in our best days, John. Man 
Jack, 't is proud you should be to lie there and know as 
you have a son as can stop even your rush wi' his left an' 
down you wi' his right as neat and proper, John, as clean 
an' delicate as ever man saw. Man Jack, God bless him, 
and here 's my hand, John." 

So, sitting there upon the floor, John Barty solemnly 
shook the hand Natty Bell held out to him, which done, 
he turned and looked at his son as though he had never 
seen him before. 

" Why, Barnabas ! " said he ; then, for all his weight, 
sprang nimbly to his feet and coming to the mantel took 
thence his pipe and began to fill it, staring at Barnabas 
the while. 

" Father," said Barnabas, advancing with hand out- 
stretched, though rather diffidently — " Father ! " 

John Barty pursed up his lips into a soundless whistle 
and went on filling his pipe. 

" Father," said Barnabas again, " I did it — as gently 
— as I could." The pipe shivered to fragments on the 
hearth, and Barnabas felt his fingers caught in his 
father's mighty grip. 

" Why, Barnabas, lad, I be all mazed like ; there 
are n't many men as have knocked me off my pins, an' I 

i 2 The Amateur Gentleman 

are n't used to it, Barnabas, lad, but 't was a clean blow, 
as Natty Bell says, and why — I be proud of thee, Bar- 
nabas, an' — there y' are." 

" Spoke like true fighting men ! " said Natty Bell, 
standing with a hand on the shoulder of each, " and, 
John, we shall see this lad, this Barnabas of ours, 
Champion of England yet." John frowned and shook 
his head. 

" No," said he, " Barnabas '11 never be Champion, Natty 
Bell — there are n't a fighting man in the Ring to-day as 
could stand up to him, but he '11 never be Champion, an' 
you can lay to that, Natty Bell. And if you ask me 
why," said he, turning to select another pipe from the 
sheaf in the mantel-shelf, " I should tell you because he 
prefers to go to London an' try to turn himself into a, 

" London," exclaimed Natty Bell, " a gentleman — our 
Barnabas — what? " 

" Bide an' listen, Natty Bell," said the ex-champion,, 
beginning to fill his new pipe. 

" I 'm listening, John." 

" Well then, you must know, then, his uncle, my 
scapegrace brother Tom — you '11 mind Tom as sailed 
away in a emigrant ship — well, Natty Bell, Tom has 
took an' died an' left a fortun' to our lad here." 

" A fortun', John ! — how much? " 

" Seven — 'undred — thousand — pound," said John,. 
with a ponderous nod after each word, " seven — 
'undred — thousand — pound, Natty Bell, and there 
y' are." 

Natty Bell opened his mouth, shut it, thrust his hands 
down into his pockets and brought out a short clay 

" Man Jack," said he, beginning to fill the pipe, yet. 
with gaze abstracted, " did I hear you say aught about 
a — gentleman ? " 

" Natty Bell, you did ; our lad 's took the idee into his 
nob to be a gentleman, an' I were trying to knock it out 

Barnabas Knocks down his Father 13 

again, but as it is, Natty Bell, I fear me," and John Barty 
shook his handsome head and sighed ponderously. 

" Why then, John, let 's sit down, all three of us, and 
talk this matter over." 



A slender man was Natty Bell, yet bigger than he 
looked, and prodigiously long in the reach, with a pair 
of very quick, bright eyes, and a wide, good-humored 
mouth ever ready to curve into a smile. But he was 
solemn enough now, and there was trouble in his eyes as 
he looked from John to Barnabas, who sat between them, 
his chair drawn up to the hearth, gazing down into the 
empty fireplace. 

" An' you tell me, John," said he, as soon as his pipe 
was well alight, — " you tell me that our Barnabas has 
took it into his head to set up as a gentleman, do you? " 

" Ah ! " nodded John. Whereupon Natty Bell crossed 
his legs and leaning back in his chair fell a-singing to 
himself in his sweet voice, as was his custom when at all 
inclined to deep thought: 

" ' A true Briton from Bristol, a rum one to fib, 

He 's Champion of England, his name is Tom Cribb; ' 

" Ah ! and you likewise tell me as our Barnabas has 

come into a fortun'." 

" Seven — 'undred — thousand — pound." 

" Hum ! " said Natty Bell, — " quite a tidy sum, John. 

" 'Come list, all ye fighting gills 

And coves of boxing note, sirs, 
While I relate some bloody mills 
In our time have been fought, sirs.* 

" Yes, a good deal can be done wi' such a sum as that, 

Of Silk Purses and Sows' Ears 15 

" But it can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, 
Natty Bell, — nor yet a gentlemen out o' you or me — or 
Barnabas here." 

" For instance," continued Natty Bell, " for instance, 
John : 

" 'Since boxing is a manly game, 
And Britain's recreation, 
By boxing we will raise our fame 
'Bove every other nation.' 

" As I say, John, a young and promising life can be 
wrecked, and utterly blasted by a much less sum than 
seven hundred thousand pound." 

" Ah ! " nodded John, " but a sow's ear are n't a silk 
purse, Natty Bell, no, nor never can be." 

" True, John ; but, arter all, a silk purse ain't much 
good if 't is empty — it 's the gold inside of it as 

" But a silk purse is ever and always a silk purse — 
empty or no, Natty Bell." 

" An' a man is always a man, John, which a gentleman 
often ain't." 

" But surely," said Barnabas, speaking for the first time, 
w a gentleman is both." 

" No — not nohow, my lad ! " exclaimed John, beginning 
to rasp at his chin again. " A man is ever and alius a 
man — like me and you, an' Natty Bell, an' a gentleman 's 
a gentleman like — Sir George Annersley — up at the 
great house yonder." 

" But — " began Barnabas. 

" Now, Barnabas " — remonstrated his father, rasping 
his chin harder than ever — " wherefore argufy — if you 
do go for to argufy — " 

" We come back to the silk purses and the sows' ears," 
added Natty Bell. 

" And I believe," said Barnabas, frowning down at the 
empty hearth, " I 'm sure, that gentility rests not so much 
on birth as upon hereditary instinct." 

" Hey? " said his father, glancing at him from the 

1 6 The Amateur Gentleman 

corners of his eyes — " go easy, Barnabas, my lad — give 
it time — on what did 'ee say? " 

" On instinct, father." 

" Instinct ! " repeated John Barty, puffing out a vast 
cloud of smoke — " instinct does all right for 'osses, Bar- 
nabas, dogs likewise ; but what 's nat'ral to 'osses an* 
dogs are n't nowise nat'ral to us ! No, you can't come 
instinct over human beings, — not nohowsoever, Barnabas, 
my lad. And, as I told you afore, a gentleman is nat'rally 
born a gentleman an' his fe3^ther afore him an' his grand- 
feyther afore him, back an' back — " 

"To Adam?" inquired Barnabas; "now, if so, the 
question is — was Adam a gentleman? " 

" Lord, Barnabas ! " exclaimed John Barty, with a re- 
proachful look — "why drag in Adam? You leave poor 
old Adam alone, my lad. Adam indeed ! What 's Adam 
got to do wi' it? " 

" Everything, we being all his descendants, — at least 
the Bible says so. — Lords and Commons, Peers and 
Peasants — all are children of Adam ; so come now, father, 
was Adam a gentleman, Yes or No? " 

John Barty frowned up at the ceiling, frowned down 
at the floor, and finally spoke : 

" What do you say to that, Natty Bell? " 

" Why, I should say, John — hum ! 

" 'Pray have n't you heard of a jolly young coal-heaver, 
Who down at Hungerford used for to ply, 
His daddies he used with such skill and dexterity 
Winning each mill, sir, and blacking each eye.' 

" Ha I — I should say, John, that Adam being in the 
habit o' going about — well, as you might put it — in a 
free and easy, airy manner, fig leaves an' suchlike, John, 
— I should say as he did n't have no call to be a gentleman, 
seeing as there were n't any tailors." 

" Tailors ! " exclaimed John, staring. " Lord ! and 
what have tailors got to do wi' it, Natty Bell? " 

" A great deal more than you 'd think, John ; every- 
thing, John, seeing 't was tailors as invented gentlemen as 

Of Silk Purses and Sows' Ears i 7 

John. So, if Barnabas wants to have a 
try at being one — he must first of all go dressed in the 

" That is very true," said Barnabas, nodding. 

" Though," pursued Natty Bell, " if you were the best 
dressed, the handsomest, the strongest, the bravest, the 
cleverest, the most honorable man in the world — that 
would n't make you a gentleman. I tell you, Barnabas, if 
you went among 'em and tried to be one of 'em, — they 'd 
find you out some day an' turn their gentlemanly backs on 

" Ah," nodded John, " and serve you right, lad, — be- 
cause if you should try to turn yourself into a gentleman, 
why, Lord, Barnabas ! — you 'd only be a sort of a amitoor 
arter all, lad." 

" Then," said Barnabas, rising up from his chair and 
crossing with resolute foot to the door, " then, just so 
soon as this law business is settled and the money mine, 
an Amateur Gentleman I '11 be." 



It was upon a certain glorious morning, some three weeks 
later, that Barnabas fared forth into the world; a morn- 
ing full of the thousand scents of herb and flower and 
ripening fruits ; a morning glad with the song of birds. 
And because it was still very early, the dew yet lay heavy, 
it twinkled in the grass, it sparkled in the hedges, and 
gemmed every leaf and twig with a flaming pendant. And 
amidst it all, fresh like the morning and young like the 
sun, came Barnabas, who, closing the door of the " Cours- 
ing Hound " behind him, leapt lightly down the stone steps 
and, turning his back upon the ancient inn, set off towards 
that hill, beyond which lay London and the Future. Yet 
— being gone but a very little way — he halted suddenly 
and came striding back again. And standing thus before 
the inn he let his eyes wander over its massive crossbeams, 
its leaning gables, its rows of gleaming lattices, and so up 
to the great sign swinging above the door — an ancient 
sign whereon a weather-beaten hound, dim-legged and faded 
of tail, pursued a misty blur that, by common report, was 
held to be a hare. But it was to a certain casement that 
his gaze oftenest reverted, behind whose open lattice he 
knew his father lay asleep, and his eyes, all at once, grew 
suffused with a glittering brightness that was not of the 
morning, and he took a step forward, half minded to clasp 
his father's hand once more ere he set out to meet those 
marvels and wonders that lay waiting for him over the 
hills — London-wards. Now, as he stood hesitating, he 
heard a voice that called his name softly, and, glancing 
round and up, espied Natty Bell, bare of neck and touzled 

Barnabas Sets out for London 19 

of head, who leaned far out from the casement of his bed- 
chamber above. 

" Ah, Barnabas, lad ! " said he with a nod — " So 
you 're going to leave us, then ? " 

" Yes ! " said Barnabas. 

" And all dressed in your new clothes as fine as ever 
was ! — stand back a bit and let me have a look at 

" How are they, Natty Bell? " inquired Barnabas with 
a note of anxiety in his voice — " the Tenderden tailor 
assured me they were of the very latest cut and fashion — 
what do you think, Natty Bell? " 

" Hum ! " said the ex-pugilist, staring down at Bar- 
nabas, chin in hand. " Ha ! they 're very good clothes, 
Barnabas, yes indeed; just the very thing — for the 

" The country ! — I had these made for London, Natty 

" For London, Barnabas — hum ! " 

" What do you mean by ' hum,' Natty Bell? " 

" Why — look ye now — 't is a good sensible coat, I '11 
not deny, Barnabas ; likewise the breeches is serviceable 

— but being only a coat and breeches, why — they ain't 
per-lite enough. For in the world of London, the per- 
lite world, Barnabas, clothes ain't garments to keep a 
man warm — they 're works of art ; in the country a man 
puts 'em on, and forgets all about 'em — in the per-lite 
world he has 'em put on for him, and remembers 'em. 
In the country a man wears his clothes, in the per-lite 
world his clothes wears him, ah ! and they 're often the 
perlitest thing about him, too ! " 

" I suppose," sighed Barnabas, " a man's clothes are 
very important — in the fashionable world? " 

" Important ! They are the most importantest part o' 
the fashionable world, lad. Now there 's Mr. Brummell 

— him as they call the 6 Beau ' — well, he ain't exactly 
a Lord Nelson nor yet a Champion of England, he ain't 
never done nothing, good, bad, or indifferent — but he 

20 The Amateur Gentleman 

does know how to wear his clothes — consequently he 's 
a very famous gentleman indeed — in the per-lite world, 
Barnabas." Here there fell a silence while Barnabas 
stared up at the inn and Natty Bell stared down at him. 
" To be sure, the old ' Hound ' ain't much of a place, 
lad — not the kind of inn as a gentleman of quality would 
go out of his way to seek and search for, pVaps — but 
there be worse places in London, Barnabas, I was born 
there and I know. There, there! dear lad, never hang 
your head — youth must have its dreams I 've heard ; 
so go your ways, Barnabas. You 're a master wi' your 
fists, thanks to John an' me — and you might have been 
Champion of England if you had n't set your heart on 
being only a gentleman. Well, well, lad! don't forget as 
there are two old cocks o' the Game down here in Kent 
as will think o' you and talk o' you, Barnabas, and what 
you might have been if you had n't happened to — Ah 
well, let be. But wherever you go and whatever you 
come to be — you 're our lad still, and so, Barnabas, take 
this, wear it in memory of old Natty Bell — steady — 
catch ! " And, with the word, he tossed down his great 
silver watch. 

" Why, Natty Bell ! " exclaimed Barnabas, very hoarse 
of voice. " Dear old Natty — I can't take this ! " 

"Ah, but you can — it was presented to me twenty 
and one years ago, Barnabas, the time I beat the Ruffian 
on Bexley Heath." 

" But I can't — I could n't take it," said Barnabas 
again, looking down at the broad-faced, ponderous time- 
piece in his hand, which he knew had long been Natty Bell's 
most cherished possession. 

" Ay, but you can, lad — you must — 't is all I have to 
offer, and it may serve to mind you of me, now and then, 
so take it ! take it ! And, Barnabas, when you 're tired o' 
being a fine gentleman up there in London, why — come 
back to us here at the old ' Hound ' and be content to be. 
just — a man. Good-by, lad; good-by ! " saying which* 
Natty Bell nodded, drew in his head and vanished, lea^v- 

Barnabas Sets out for London 2 1 

ing Barnabas to stare up at the closed lattice, with the 
ponderous timepiece ticking in his hand. 

So, in a while, Barnabas slipped it into his pocket and, 
turning his back upon the " Coursing Hound," began to 
climb that hill beyond which lay the London of his dreams. 
Therefore as he went he kept his eyes lifted up to the 
summit of the hill, and his step grew light, his eye bright- 
ened, for Adventure lay in wait for him; Life beckoned 
to him from the distance; there was magic in the air. 
Thus Barnabas strode on up the hill full of expectancy 
and the blind confidence in destiny which is the glory of 

Oh, Spirit of Youth, to whose fearless eyes all things 
are matters to wonder at; oh, brave, strong Spirit of 
Youth, to whom dangers are but trifles to smile at, and 
death itself but an adventure; to thee, since failure is 
unknown, all things are possible, and thou mayest, perad- 
venture, make the world thy football, juggle with the stars, 
and even become a Fine Gentleman despite thy country 
homespun — and yet — 

But as for young Barnabas, striding blithely upon his 
way, he might verily have been the Spirit of Youth itself 
■ — head high, eyes a-dance, his heart light as his step, his 
gaze ever upon the distance ahead, for he was upon the 
road at last, and every step carried him nearer the fulfil- 
ment of his dream. 

" At Tonbridge he would take the coach," he thought, 
or perhaps hire a chaise and ride to London like a gentle- 
man. A gentleman ! and here he was whistling away like 
any ploughboy. Happily the road was deserted at this 
early hour, but Barnabas shook his head at himself re- 
proachfully, and whistled no more — for a time. 

But now, having reached the summit of the hill, he 
paused and turned to look back. Below him lay the old 
inn, blinking in its many casements in the level rays of 
the newly risen sun ; and now, all at once, as he gazed 
down at it from this eminence, it seemed, somehow, to have 
shrunk, to have grown more weather-beaten and worn — 

22 The Amateur Gentleman 

truly never had it looked so small and mean as it did at 
this moment. Indeed, he had been wont to regard the 
" Coursing Hound " as the very embodiment of what an 
English inn should be — but now ! Barnabas sighed — 
which was a new thing for him. " Was the change really 
in the old inn, or in himself? " he wondered. Hereupon 
he sighed again, and turning, went on down the hill. But 
now, as he went, his step lagged and his head drooped. 
" Was the change in the inn, or could it be that money can 
so quickly alter one? " he wondered. And straightway the 
coins in his pocket chinked and jingled "yes, yes!" 
wherefore Barnabas sighed for the third time, and his 
head drooped lower yet. 

Well then, since he was rich, he would buy his father 
a better inn — the best in all England. A better inn ! 
and the " Coursing Hound " had been his home as long 
as he could remember. A better inn! Here Barnabas 
sighed for the fourth time, and his step was heavier than 
ever as he went on down the hill. 



" Heads up, young master, never say die ! and wi' the 
larks and the throstles a-singing away so inspiring too — 
Lord love me ! " 

Barnabas started guiltily, and turning with upflung 
head, perceived a very small man perched on an adjacent 
milestone, with a very large pack at his feet, a very large 
hunk of bread and cheese in his hand, and with a book 
open upon his knee. 

" Listen to that theer lark," said the man, pointing up- 
wards with the knife he held. 

"Well? " said Barnabas, a trifle haughtily perhaps. 

" There 's music for ye ; there 's j 'y . I never hear a 
lark but it takes me back to London — to Lime'us, to 
Giles's Rents, down by the River." 

"Pray, why?" inquired Barnabas, still a trifle 

"Because it's so different; there ain't much j'y, no, 
nor yet music in Giles's Rents, down by the River." 

" Rather an unpleasant place ! " said Barnabas. 

" Unpleasant, young sir. I should say so — the worst 
place in the world — but listen to that theer blessed lark ; 
there 's a woice for ye ; there 's music with a capital M ; 
an' I 've read as they cooks and eats 'em." 

"Who do?" 

" Nobs do — swells — gentlemen — ah, an' ladies, too ! " 

" More shame to them, then." 

" Why, so says I, young master, but, ye see, beef an' 
mutton, ducks an' chicken, an' sich, ain't good enough 

24 The Amateur Gentleman 

for your Nobs nowadays, oh no ! They must dewour 
larks wi' gusto, and French hortolons wi' avidity, and wi' 
a occasional leg of a frog throw' d in for a relish — though, 
to be sure, a frog's leg ain't over meaty at the best o' 
times. Oh, it 's all true, young sir ; it 's all wrote down 
here in this priceless wollum." Here he tapped the book 
upon his knee. " Ye see, with the Quality it is quality 
as counts — not quantity. It 's flavor as is their constant 
want, or, as you might say, desire; flavor in their meat, 
in their drink, and above all, in their books ; an' see you, 
I sell books, an' I know." 

" What kind of flavor? " demanded Barnabas, coming 
a step nearer, though in a somewhat stately fashion. 

" Why, a gamey flavor, to be sure, young sir ; a 'igh 
flavor — ah ! the 'igher the better. Specially in books. 
Now here," continued the Chapman, holding up the vol- 
ume he had been reading. " 'Ere 's a book as ain't to be 
ekalled nowheers nor nohow — not in Latin nor Greek, 
nor Persian, no, nor yet 'Indoo. A book as is fuller 
o' information than a egg is o' meat. A book as was 
wrote by a person o' quality, therefore a elewating book; 
wi' nice bold type into it — ah ! an' wood-cuts — picters 
an' engravin's, works o' art as is not to be beat nowheers 
nor nohow ; not in China, Asia, nor Africa, a book there- 
fore as is above an' beyond all price." 

" What book is it? " inquired Barnabas, forgetting his 
haughtiness, and coming up beside the Chapman. 

" It 's a book," said the Chapman ; " no, it 's the book 
as any young gentleman a-going out into the world ought 
to have wi' him, asleep or awake." 

" But what is it all about ? " inquired Barnabas a trifle 

" Why, everything," answered the Chapman ; " an' I 
know because I 've read it — a thing I rarely do." 

"What's the title?" 

" The title, young sir ; well theer ! read for yourself." 

And with the words the Chapman held up the book open 
at the title-page, and Barnabas read: 

A Pedler of Books 25 



The Compleat Art of a Gentlemanly Deportment 
by a Person of Quality. 

" You '11 note that theer Person o' Quality, will ye? " 
said the Chapman. 

" Strange ! " said Barnabas. 

" Not a bit of it ! " retorted the Chapman. " Lord, 
love me! any one could be a gentleman by just reading 
and inwardly di-gesting o' this here priceless wollum ; it 's 
all down here in print, an' nice bold type, too — pat as 
you please. If it did n't 'appen as my horryscope demands 
as I should be a chapman, an' sell books an' sich along the 
roads, I might ha' been as fine a gentleman as any on 
'em, just by follering the directions printed into this 
here blessed tome, an' in nice large type, too, an' wood- 

" This is certainly very remarkable ! " said Barnabas. 

" Ah ! " nodded the Chapman, " it 's the most remark- 
ablest book as ever was ! — Lookee — heer 's picters for 
ye — lookee ! " and he began turning over the pages, call- 
ing out the subject of the pictures as he did so. 

" Gentleman going a walk in a jerry 'at. Gentleman 
eating soup! Gentleman kissing lady's 'and. Gentleman 
dancing with lady — note them theer legs, will ye — 
theer 's elegance for ye ! Gentleman riding a 'oss in one 
o' these 'ere noo buckled 'ats. Gentleman shaking 'ands 
with ditto — observe the cock o' that little finger, will ye ! 
Gentleman eating ruffles — no, truffles, which is a vege- 
table, as all pigs is uncommon partial to. Gentleman pro- 
posing lady's 'ealth in a frilled shirt an' a pair o' skin- 
tights. Gentleman making a bow." 

" And remarkably stiff in the legs about it, too ! " 
nodded Barnabas. 

" Stiff in the legs ! " cried the Chapman reproachfully. 

26 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Lord love you, young sir ! I 've seen many a leg stiff «v 
than that." 

" And how much is the book? " 

The Chapman cast a shrewd glance up at the tall youth- 
ful figure, at the earnest young face, at the deep and 
solemn eyes, and coughed behind his hand. 

" Well, young sir," said he, gazing thoughtfully up at 
the blue sky — " since you are you, an' nobody else — an* 
ax me on so fair a morning, wi' the song o' birds filling the 
air — we '11 charge you only — well — say ten shillings : 
say eight, say seven-an'-six — say five — theer, make it 
five shillings, an' dirt-cheap at the price, too." 

Barnabas hesitated, and the Chapman was about to 
come down a shilling or two more when Barnabas 

" Then you 're not thinking of learning to become a 
gentleman yourself? " 

" O Lord love you — no ! " 

" Then I '11 buy it," said Barnabas, and forthwith 
handed over the five shillings. Slipping the book into his 
pocket, he turned to go, yet paused again and addressed 
the Chapman over his shoulder. 

"Shouldn't you like to become a gentleman?" he 

Again the Chapman regarded him from the corners of 
his eyes, and again he coughed behind his hand. 

" Well," he admitted, " I should an' I should n't. O' 
course it must be a fine thing to bow to a duchess, or 
'and a earl's daughter into a chariot wi' four 'orses an' a 
couple o' footmen, or even to sit wi' a markus an' eat 
a French hortolon (which never 'aving seen, I don't know 
the taste on, but it sounds promising) ; oh yes, that part 
would suit me to a T ; but then theer 's t' other part to it, 
y' see." 

" What do you mean? " 

"Why, a gentleman has a great deal to live up to — 
theer 's his dignity, y' see." 

" Yes, I suppose so," Barnabas admitted. 

A Pedler of Books 2j 

" For Instance, a gentleman could n't very well be ex- 
pected to sit in a ditch and enj'y a crust o' bread an* 
cheese; 'is dignity wouldn't allow of it, now would it? '* 

" Certainly not," said Barnabas. 

" Nor yet drink 'ome-brewed out of a tin pot in a inn. 

" Well, he might, if he were very thirsty," Barnabas 
ventured to think. But the Chapman scouted the idea. 

" For," said he, " a gentleman's dignity lifts him above 
inn kitchens and raises him superior to tin pots. Now 
tin pots is a perticler weakness o' mine, leastways when 
theer 's good ale inside of 'em. And then again an' lastly," 
said the Chapman, balancing a piece of cheese on the flat 
of his knife-blade, " lastly theer 's his clothes, an', as I 've 
read somewhere, ' clothes make the man ' — werry good — 
chuck in dignity an' theer 's your gentleman ! " 

" Hum," said Barnabas, profoundly thoughtful. 

" An' a gentleman's clothes is a world o' trouble and 
anxiety to him, and takes up most o' his time, what wi' 
his walking breeches an' riding breeches an' breeches for 
dancing; what wi' his coats cut 'igh an' his coats cut 
low; what wi' his flowered satin weskits ; what wi' his 
boots an' his gloves, an' his cravats an' his 'ats, why, Lord 
love ye, he passes his days getting out o' one suit of 
clothes an' into another. And it 's just this clothes part 
as I can't nowise put up wi', for I 'm one as loves a easy 
life, I am." 

" And is your life so easy? " inquired Barnabas, eyeing 
the very small Chapman's very large pack. 

" Why, to be sure theer 's easier," the Chapman ad- 
mitted, scratching his ear and frowning ; " but then," 
and here his brow cleared again, " I 've only got this one 
single suit of clothes to bother my 'ead over, which, being 
wore out as you can see, don't bother me at all." 

" Then are you satisfied to be as you are? " 

" Well," answered the Chapman, clinking the five shil- 
lings in his pocket, " I are n't one to grumble at fate, nor 
yet growl at fortun'." 

28 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Why, then," said Barnabas, " I wish you good 

" Good morning, young sir, and remember now, if you 
should ever feel like being a gentleman — it 's quite easy — 
all as you 've got to do is to read the instructions in that 
theer priceless wollum — mark 'em — learn 'em, and in- 
wardly di-gest 'em, and you'll be a gentleman afore you 
know it." 

Now hereupon Barnabas smiled, a very pleasant smile 
and radiant with youth, whereat the Chapman's pinched 
features softened for pure good fellowship, and for the 
moment he almost wished that he had charged less for the 
" priceless wollum," as, so smiling, Barnabas turned and 
strode away, London-wards. 



Now in a while Barnabas came to where was a stile with 
a path beyond — a narrow path that led up over a hill 
until it lost itself in a wood that crowned the ascent; a 
wood where were shady dells full of a quivering green 
twilight; where broad glades led away beneath leafy 
arches, and where a stream ran gurgling in the shade of 
osiers and willows ; a wood that Barnabas had known 
from boyhood. Therefore, setting his hand upon the 
stile, he vaulted lightly over, minded to go through the 
wood and join the high road further on. This he did by 
purest chance, and all unthinking followed the winding 

Now had Barnabas gone on by the road how different 
this history might have been, and how vastly different 
his career! But, as it happened, moved by Chance, or 
Fate, or Destiny, or what you will, Barnabas vaulted 
over the stile and strode on up the winding path, whistling 
as he went, and, whistling, plunged into the green twilight 
of the wood, and, whistling still, swung suddenly into a 
broad and grassy glade splashed green and gold with 
sunlight, and then stopped all at once and stood there 
silent, dumb, the very breath in check between his lips. 

She lay upon her side — full length upon the sward, 
and her tumbled hair made a glory in the grass, a golden 
mane. Beneath this silken curtain he saw dark brows that 
frowned a little — a vivid mouth, and lashes thick and 

30 The Amateur Gentleman 

dark like her eyebrows, that curled upon the pallor of her 

Motionless stood Barnabas, with eyes that wandered 
from the small polished riding-boot, with its delicately 
spurred heel, to follow the gracious line that swelled volup- 
tuously from knee to rounded hip, that sank in sweetly 
to a slender waist, yet rose again to the rounded beauty 
of her bosom. 

So Barnabas stood and looked and looked, and look- 
ing sighed, and stole a step near and stopped again, for 
behold the leafy screen was parted suddenly, and Barna- 
bas beheld two boots — large boots they were but of ex- 
quisite shape — boots that strode strongly and planted 
themselves masterfully; Hessian boots, elegant, glossy 
and betasselled. Glancing higher, he observed a coat of 
a bottle-green, high-collared, close-fitting and silver- 
buttoned; a coat that served but to make more appar- 
ent the broad chest, powerful shoulders, and lithe waist 
of its wearer. Indeed a truly marvellous coat (at least, 
so thought Barnabas), and in that moment, he, for the 
first time, became aware how clumsy and ill-contrived were 
his own garments ; he understood now what Natty Bell 
had meant when he had said they were not polite enough ; 
and as for his boots — blunt of toe, thick-soled and pon- 
derous — he positively blushed for them. Here, it oc- 
curred to him that the wearer of the coat possessed a face, 
and he looked at it accordingly. It was a handsome face 
he saw, dark of eye, square-chinned and full-lipped. Just 
now the eyes were lowered, for their possessor stood ap- 
parently lost in leisurely contemplation of her who lay 
outstretched between them; and as his gaze wandered to 
and fro over her defenceless beauty, a glow dawned in the 
eyes, and the full lips parted in a slow smile, whereat 
Barnabas frowned darkly, and his cheeks grew hot because 
of her too betraying habit. 

" Sir ! " said he between snapping teeth. 

Then, very slowly and unwillingly, the gentleman raised 
his eyes and stared across at him. 

Introduces a Lady 3 1 

" And pray," said he carelessly, " pray who might you 

At his tone Barnabas grew more angry and therefore 
more polite. 

" Sir, that — permit me to say — does not concern 

" Not in the least," the other retorted, " and I bid you 
good day ; you can go, my man, I am acquainted with this 
lady ; she is quite safe in my care." 

" That, sir, I humbly beg leave to doubt," said Barna- 
bas, his politeness growing. 

" Why — you impudent scoundrel ! " 

Barnabas smiled. 

" Come, take yourself off ! " said the gentleman, frown- 
ing. " I '11 take care of this lady." 

" Pardon me ! but I think not." 

The gentleman stared at Barnabas through suddenly 
narrow lids, and laughed softly, and Barnabas thought 
his laugh worse than his frown. 

" Ha ! d' you mean to say you — won't go? " 

" With all the humility in the world, I do, sir." 

" Why, you cursed, interfering yokel ! must I thrash 

Now " yokel " stung, for Barnabas remembered his 
blunt-toed boots, therefore he smiled with lips suddenly 
grim, and his politeness grew almost aggressive. 

" Thrash me, sir ! " he repeated, " indeed I almost ven- 
ture to fear that you must." But the gentleman's gaze 
had wandered to the fallen girl once more, and the gl©w 
was back in his roving eyes. 

" Pah ! " said he, still intent, " if it is her purse you 
are after — here, take mine and leave us in peace." As 
he spoke, he flung his purse towards Barnabas, and took 
a long step nearer the girl. But in that same instant 
Barnabas strode forward also and, being nearer, reached 
her first, and, stepping over her, it thus befell that they 
came face to face within a foot of one another. For a 
moment they stood thus, staring into each other's eyes, 

32 The Amateur Gentleman 

then without a word swift and sudden they closed and 

The gentleman was very quick, and more than ordi- 
narily strong, so also was Barnabas, but the gentleman's 
handsome face was contorted with black rage, whereas 
Barnabas was smiling, and therein seemed the only differ- 
ence between them as they strove together breast to 
breast, now in sunlight, now in shadow, but always grimly 

So, within the glory of the morning, they reeled 
and staggered to and fro, back and forth, trampling 
down the ■ young grass, straining, panting, swaying — 
the one frowning and determined, the other smiling and 

Suddenly the bottle-green coat ripped and tore as its 
wearer broke free ; there was the thud of a blow, and Bar- 
nabas staggered back with blood upon his face — stag- 
gered, I say, and in that moment, as his antagonist rushed, 
laughed fierce and short, and stepped lightly aside and 
smote him clean and true under the chin, a little to one 

The gentleman's fists flew wide, he twisted upon his 
heels, pitched over upon his face, and lay still. 

Smiling still, Barnabas looked down upon him, then 
grew grave. 

" Indeed," said he, " indeed it was a great pity to spoil 
such a wonderful coat." 

So he turned away, and coming to where she, who was 
the unwitting cause of all this, yet lay, stopped all at 
once, for it seemed to him that her posture was altered; 
her habit had become more decorous, and yet the lashes, 
so dark in contrast to her hair, those shadowy lashes yet 
curled upon her cheek. Therefore, very presently, Bar- 
nabas stooped, and raising her in his arms bore her away 
through the wood towards the dim recesses where, hidden 
in the green shadows, his friend the brook went singing 
upon its way. 

And in a while the gentleman stirred and sat up, and, 

Introduces a Lady 33 

beholding his torn coat, swore viciously, and, chancing upon 
his purse, pocketed it, and so went upon his way, and by 
contrast with the glory of the morning his frown seemed 
the blacker. 



Let it be understood that Barnabas was not looking at 
her as she lay all warm and yielding in his embrace, on 
the contrary, he walked with his gaze fixed pertinaciously 
upon the leafy path he followed, nevertheless he was pos- 
sessed, more than once, of a sudden feeling that her eyes 
had opened and were watching him, therefore, after a 
while be it noted, needs must he steal a downward glance 
at her beauty, only to behold the shadowy lashes curling 
upon her cheeks, as was but natural, of course. And now 
he began to discover that these were, indeed, no ordinary 
lashes (though to be sure his experience in such had been 
passing small), yet the longer he gazed upon them the 
more certain he became that these were, altogether and 
in all respects, the most demurely tantalizing lashes in 
the world. Then, again, there was her mouth — warmly 
red, full-lipped and sensitive like the delicate nostrils 
above ; a mouth all sweet curves ; a mouth, he thought, 
that might grow firm and proud, or wonderfully tender 
as the case might be, a mouth of scarlet bewitchment; a 
mouth that for some happy mortal might be — here our 
Barnabas came near blundering into a tree, and thence- 
forth he kept his gaze upon the path again. So, strong 
armed and sure of foot, he bore her through the magic 
twilight of the wood until he reached the brook. And com- 
ing to where the bending willows made a leafy bower he 
laid her there, then, turning, went down to the brook and 
-drawing off his neckerchief began to moisten it in the clear, 
cool water. 

Qf Black Eyelashes 35. 

And lo! in the same minute, the curling lashes were 
lifted suddenly, and beneath their shadow two eyes looked 
out — deep and soft and darkly blue, the eyes of a maid 
— now frank and ingenuous, now shyly troubled, but 
brimful of witchery ever and always. And pray what 
could there be in all the fair world more proper for a 
maid's eyes to rest upon than young Alcides, bare of* 
throat, and with the sun in his curls, as he knelt to moisten 
♦he neckerchief in the brook? 

Therefore, as she lay, she gazed upon him in her turn,, 
even as he had first looked upon her, pleased to find his 
face so young and handsome, to note the breadth of his 
shoulders, the graceful carriage of his limbs, his air of 
virile strength and latent power, yet doubting too, because 
of her sex, because of the loneliness, and because he was 
a man; thus she lay blushing a little, sighing a little, 
fearing a little, waiting for him to turn. True, he had 
been almost reverent so far, but then the place was so very 
lonely. And yet — 

Barnabas turned and came striding up the bank. And 
how was he to know anything of all this, as he stood above 
her with his dripping neckerchief in his hand, looking 
down at her lying so very still, and pitying her mightily 
because her lashes showed so dark against the pallor of 
her cheek? How was he to know how her heart leapt in 
her white bosom as he sank upon his knees beside her? 
Therefore he leaned above her closer and raised the drip- 
ping neckerchief. But in that moment she (not minded 
to be wet) sighed, her white lids fluttered, and, sitting up,, 
she stared at him for all the world as though she had never 
beheld him until that very moment. 

" What are you going to do? " she demanded, drawing 
away from the streaming neckerchief. " Who are you ? 
Why am I here ? — what has happened ? " 

Barnabas hesitated, first because he was overwhelmed 
by this sudden torrent of questions, and secondly because 
he rarely spoke without thinking; therefore, finding him 
silent, she questioned him again — 

36 The Amateur Gentleman 

"Where am I?" 

" In Annersley Wood, madam." 

" Ah, yes, I remember, my horse ran away." 

" So I brought you here to the brook." 


" You were hurt ; I found you bleeding and senseless." 

" Bleeding ! " And out came a dainty lace handkerchief 
on the instant. 

" There," said Barnabas, " above your eyebrow," and 
he indicated a very small trickle of blood upon the snow 
of her temple. 

" And you — found me, sir? " 

" Beneath the riven oak in the Broad Glade — over 

" That is a great way from here, sir ! " 

" You are not — heavy ! " Barnabas explained, a 
little clumsily perhaps, for she fell silent at this, and 
stooped her head the better to dab tenderly at the 
cut above her eyebrow; also the color deepened in her 

" Madam," said Barnabas, " that is the wrong eyebrow." 

" Then why don't you tell me where I 'm hurt ? " she 
sighed. For answer, after a moment's hesitation, Barna- 
bas reached out and taking her hand, handkerchief and 
all, laid it very gently upon the cut, though to be sure it 
was a very poor thing, as cuts go, after all. 

" There," said he again, " though indeed it is very 

" Indeed, sir, it pains atrociously ! " she retorted, and 
to bear out her words showed him her handkerchief, upon 
whose snow was a tiny vivid stain. 

" Then perhaps," ventured Barnabas, " perhaps I 'd 
better bathe it with this ! " and he held up his dripping 

" Nay, sir, I thank you," she answered, " keep it for 
your own wounds — there is a cut upon your cheek." 

" A cut ! " repeated Barnabas — bethinking him of the 
gentleman's signet ring. 

Of Black Eyelashes 37 

" Yes, a cut, sir," she repeated, and stole a glance at 
him under her long lashes ; " pray did your horse run 
away also? " 

Barnabas was silent again, this time because he knew 
not how to answer — therefore he began rubbing at his in- 
jured cheek while she watched him — and after a while 

" Sir," said she, " that is the wrong cheek." 

" Then, indeed, this must be very trifling also," said 
Barnabas, smiling. 

" Does it pain you, sir? " 

"Thank you — no." 

" Yet it bleeds ! You say it was not your horse, sir? " 
she inquired, wonderfully innocent of eye. 

" No, it was not my horse." 

" Why, then — pray, how did it happen ? " 

" Happen, madam ? — why, I fancy I must have — 
scratched myself," returned Barnabas, beginning to wring 
out his neckerchief. 

" Scratched yourself. Ah ! of course ! " said she, and 
was silent while Barnabas continued to wring the water 
from his neckerchief. 

" Pray," she inquired suddenly, " do you often scratch 
yourself — until you bleed? — ? t is surely a most distress- 
ing habit." Now glancing up suddenly, Barnabas saw 
her eyes were wonderfully bright for all her solemn mouth, 
and suspicion grew upon him. — "Did she know? Had 
she seen? " he wondered. 

" Nevertheless, sir — my thanks are due to you — " 

" For what? " he inquired quickly. 

" Why — for — for — " 

" For bringing you here ? " he suggested, beginning to 
wring out his neckerchief again. 

" Yes ; believe me I am more than grateful for — 
for — " 

" For what, madam? " he inquired again, looking at her 

" For — your — kindness, sir." 

38 The Amateur Gentleman 

"Pray, how have I been kind? — you refused my 

Surely he was rather an unpleasant person after all, 
she thought, with his persistently direct eyes, and his ab- 
surdly blunt mode of questioning — and she detested 
answering questions. 

" Sir," said she, with her dimpled chin a little higher 
than usual, " it is a great pity you troubled yourself 
about me, or spoilt your neckerchief with water." 

" I thought you were hurt, you see — " 

" Oh, sir, I grieve to disappoint you," said she, and 
rose, and indeed she gained her feet with admirable grace 
and dignity notwithstanding her recent fall, and the ham- 
pering folds of her habit; and now Barnabas saw that 
she was taller than he had thought. 

" Disappoint me ! " repeated Barnabas, rising also ; 
" the words are unjust." 

For a moment she stood, her head thrown back, her 
eyes averted disdainfully, and it was now that Barnabas 
first noticed the dimple in her chin, and he was yet ob- 
serving it very exactly when he became aware that her 
haughtiness was gone again and that her eyes were look- 
ing up at him, half laughing, half shy, and of course wholly 

" Yes, I know it was," she admitted, " but oh ! 
won't you please believe that a woman can't fall off 
her horse without being hurt, though it won't bleed 
much." Now as she spoke a distant clock began to 
strike and she to count the strokes, soft and mellow with 

" Nine ! " she exclaimed with an air of tragedy — 
" then I shall be late for breakfast, and I 'm ravenous — 
and gracious heavens ! " 

" What now, madam? " 

" My hair ! It 's all come down — look at it ! " 

" I 've been doing so ever since I — met you," Barnabas 

" Oh, have you ! Then why did n't you tell me of it — 

Of Black Eyelashes 3 9 

and I 've lost nearly all my hairpins — and — oh dear ! 
what will they think? " 

" That it is the most beautiful hair in all the world, 
of course," said Barnabas. She was already busy twist- 
ing it into a shining rope, but here she paused to look up 
at him from under this bright nimbus, and with two hair- 
pins in her mouth. 

" Oh ! " said she again very thoughtfully, and then 
" Do you think so ? " she inquired, speaking over and 
round the hairpins as it were. 

" Yes," said Barnabas, steady-eyed ; and immediately 
down came the curling lashes again, while with dexterous 
white fingers she began to transform the rope into a 

" I 'm afraid it won't hold up," she said, giving her 
head a tentative shake, " though, fortunately, I have n't 
far to go." 

"How far?" asked Barnabas. 

" To Annersley House, sir." 

" Yes," said Barnabas, " that is very near — the glade 
yonder leads into the park." 

" Do you know Annersley, then, sir? " 

Barnabas hesitated and, having gone over the question 
in his mind, shook his head. 

" I know of it," he answered. 

" Do you know Sir George Annersley? " 

Again Barnabas hesitated. As a matter of fact he 
knew as much of Sir George as he knew of the " great 
house," as it was called thereabouts, that is to say he 
had seen him once or twice — in the distance. But it 
would never do to admit as much to her, who now looked 
up at him with eyes of witchery as she waited for him to 
speak. Therefore Barnabas shook his head, and answered 
airily enough : 

" We are not exactly acquainted, madam." 

Yesterday he would have scorned the subterfuge; but 
to-day there was money in his purse; London awaited 
him with expectant arms, the very air was fraught with 

40 The Amateur Gentleman 

a magic whereby the impossible might become concrete 
fact, wherein dreams might become realities ; was not she 
herself, as she stood before him lithe and vigorous in all 
the perfection of her warm young womanhood - — was she 
not the very embodiment of those dreams that had haunted 
him sleeping and waking? Verily. Therefore with this 
magic in the air might he not meet Sir George Annersley 
at the next cross-roads or by-lane, and strike up an endur- 
ing friendship on the spot — truly, for anything was pos- 
sible to-day. Meanwhile my lady had gathered up the 
folds of her riding-habit, and yet in the act of turning 
into the leafy path, spoke : 

" Are you going far, sir ? " 

" To London." 

" Have you many friends there? " 

" None, — as yet, madam." 

After this they walked on in silence, she with her eyes 
on the lookout for obstacles, he lost to all but the beauty 
of the young body before him — the proud carriage of 
the head, the sway of the hips, the firm poise of the small 
and slender foot — all this he saw and admired, yet (be 
it remarked) his face bore nothing of the look that had 
distorted the features of the gentleman in the bottle-green 
coat — though to be sure our Barnabas was but an ama- 
teur at best — even as Natty Bell had said. So at last 
she reached the fateful glade beyond which, though small 
with distance, was a noble house set upon a gentle hill that 
rose above the swaying green of trees. Here my lady 
paused ; she looked up the glade and down the glade, and 
finally at him. And her eyes were the eyes of a maid, shy, 
mischievous, demure, challenging. 

"Sir," said she, shyly, demurely — but with eyes still 
challenging — " sir, I have to thank you. I do thank you 
— more than these poor lips can tell. If there is anything 
I could — do — to — to prove my gratitude, you — 
have but to — name it." 

" Do," stammered Barnabas. " Do — indeed — I — 

Of Black Eyelashes 41 

The challenging eyes were hidden now, but the lips 
curved wonderfully tempting and full of allurement. Bar- 
nabas clenched his fists hard. 

" I see, sir, jour cheek has stopped bleeding, 't is almost 
well. I think — there are others — whose hurts will not 
heal — quite so soon — and, between you and me, sir, I 'm 
glad — glad ! Good-by ! and may you find as many friends 
in London as you deserve." So saying, she turned and 
went on down the glade. 

And in a little Barnabas sighed, and turning also, strode 
on London-wards. 

Now when she had gone but a very short way, my lady 
must needs glance back over her shoulder, then, screened 
to be sure by a convenient bramble-bush, she stood to 
watch him as he swung along, strong, graceful, but with 
never a look behind. 

" Who was he ? " she wondered. " What was he ? 
From his clothes he might be anything between a game- 
keeper and a farmer." 

Alas ! poor Barnabas ! To be sure his voice was 
low and modulated, and his words well chosen — who was 
he, what was he? And he was going to London where 
he had no friends. And he had never told his name, nor, 
what was a great deal worse, asked for hers ! Here my 
lady frowned, for such indifference was wholly new in 
her experience. But on went long-legged Barnabas, 
all unconscious, striding through sunlight and shadow, 
with step blithe and free — and still (Oh! Barnabas) 
with never a look behind. Therefore, my lady's frown 
grew more portentous, and she stamped her foot at his un- 
conscious back; then all at once the frown vanished in 
a sudden smile, and she instinctively shrank closer into 
cover, for Barnabas had stopped. 

" Oh, indeed, sir ! " she mocked, secure behind her 
leafy screen, nodding her head at his unconscious back; 
" so you 've actually thought better of it, have you? " 

Here Barnabas turned. 

" Really, sir, you will even trouble to come all the 

42 The Amateur Gentleman 

way back, will you, just to learn her name — or, perhaps 
to — indeed, what condescension. But, dear sir, you 're 
too late ; oh, yes, indeed you are ! ' for he who will not 
when he may, when he will he shall have nay.' I grieve 
to say you are too late — quite too late! Good morning, 
Master Shill-I-shall-I." And with the word she turned, 
then hastily drew a certain lace handkerchief from her 
bosom, and set it very cleverly among the thorns of a 
bramble, and so sped away among the leaves. 



" Now, by the Lord ! said Barnabas, stopping all at 
once, " forgetful fool that I am ! I never bowed to her ! " 
Therefore, being minded to repair so grave an omission, 
he turned sharp about, and came striding back again, 
and thus it befell that he presently espied the lace hand- 
kerchief fluttering from the bramble, and having extri- 
cated the delicate lace from the naturally reluctant thorns 
with a vast degree of care and trouble, he began to look 
about for the late owner. But search how he might, his 
efforts proved unavailing — Annersley Wood was empty 
save for himself. Having satisfied himself of the fact, 
Barnabas sighed again, thrust the handkerchief into his 
pocket, and once more set off upon his way. 

But now, as he went, he must needs remember his 
.awkward stiffness when she had thanked him; he grew 
liot all over at the mere recollection, and, moreover, he 
had forgotten even to bow! But there again, was he 
quite sure that he could bow as a gentleman should? 
There were doubtless certain rules and maxims for the 
bow as there were for mathematics — various motions to 
be observed in the making of it, of which Barnabas 
confessed to himself his utter ignorance. What then was 
a bow? Hereupon, bethinking him of the book in his 
pocket, he drew it out, and turning to a certain page, 
began to study the " stiff-legged-gentleman " with a new 
and enthralled interest. Now over against this gentleman, 
that is to say, on the opposite page, he read these 
words : — 

44 The Amateur Gentleman 

" The Art of Bowing. 

" To know how, and when, and to whom to bow, 
is in itself an art. The bow is, indeed, an all-impor- 
tant accomplishment, — it is the 6 Open Sesame ' of 
the 6 Polite World.' To bow gracefully, therefore, 
may be regarded as the most important part of a 
gentlemanly deportment." 

" Hum ! " said Barnabas, beginning to frown at this ; 
and yet, according to the title-page, these were the words 
of a " Person of Quality." 

" To bow gracefully," — the Person of Quality 
chattered on, — " the feet should be primarily dis- 
posed as in the first position of dancing." 

Barnabas sighed, frowning still. 

" The left hand should be lifted airily and laid 
upon the bosom, the fingers kept elegantly spread. 
The head is now stooped forward, the body following 
easily from the hips, the right hand, at the same 
moment, being waved gracefully in the air. It is, 
moreover, very necessary that the expression of the 
features should assume as engaging an air as possible. 
The depth of the bow is to be regulated to the rank 
of the person saluted." 

And so forth and so on for two pages more. 

Barnabas sighed and shook his head hopelessly. 

" Ah ! " said he, " under these circumstances it is 
perhaps just as well that I forgot to try. It would seem 
I should have bungled it quite shamefully. Who would 
have thought a thing so simple could become a thing so 
very complicated ! " Saying which, he shut the book, and 
thrust it back into his pocket, and thus became aware of 
a certain very small handful of dainty lace and cambric, 
and took it out, and, looking at it, beheld again the 

Of the Art of Bowing 45 

diminutive stain, while there stole to his nostrils a per- 
fume, faint and very sweet. 

" I wonder," said he to himself. " I wonder who she 
was — I might have asked her name but, fool that I am, 
I even forgot that ! " 

Here Barnabas sighed, and, sighing, hid the handker- 
chief in his pocket. 

" And yet," he pursued, " had she told me her name, 
I should have been compelled to announce mine, and — 
Barnabas Barty — hum ! somehow there is no suggestion 
about it of broad acres, or knightly ancestors ; no, Barty 
will never do." Here Barnabas became very thoughtful. 
" Mortimer sounds better," said he, after a while, " or 
Mandeville. Then there 's Neville, and Desborough, and 
Ravenswood — all very good names, and yet none of them 
seems quite suitable. Still I must have a name that is 
beyond all question ! " And Barnabas walked on more 
thoughtful than ever. All at once he stopped, and 
clapped hand to thigh. 

" My mother's name, of course — Beverley ; yes, it is 
an excellent name, and, since it was hers, I have more 
right to it than to any other. So Beverley it shall be — 
Barnabas Beverley — good ! " Here Barnabas stopped 
and very gravely lifted his hat to his shadow. 

" Mr. Beverley," said he, " I salute you, your very 
humble obedient servant, Mr. Beverley, sir, God keep 
you ! " Hereupon he put on his hat again, and fell into 
his swinging stride. 

" So," said he, " that point being settled it remains to 
master the intricacies of the bow." Saying which, he 
once more had recourse to the " priceless wollum," and 
walked on through the glory of the morning, with his 
eyes upon the valuable instructions of the " Person of 

Now, as he went, chancing to look up suddenly, he 
beheld a gate-post. A very ancient gate-post it was — a 
decrepit gate-post, worn and heavy with years, for it 
leaned far out from the perpendicular. And with his 

46 The Amateur Gentleman 

gaze upon this, Barnabas halted suddenly, clapped the 
book to his bosom, and raising his hat with an elegant 
flourish, bowed to that gnarled and withered piece of 
timber as though it had been an Archduke at the very 
least, or the loveliest lady in the land. 

"Ha! by Thor and Odin, what's all this?" cried a 
voice behind him. " I say what the devil 's all this? " 

Turning sharp about, Barnabas beheld a shortish, broad- 
shouldered individual in a befrogged surtout and cords, 
something the worse for wear, who stood with his booted 
legs wide apart and stared at him from a handsome 
bronzed face, with a pair of round blue eyes; he held a 
broad-brimmed hat in his hand — the other, Barnabas 
noticed, was gone from the elbow. 

" Egad ! " said he, staring at Barnabas with his blue 
eyes. "What 's in the wind? I say, what the devil, sir 
— eh, sir?" 

Forthwith Barnabas beamed upon him, and swept 
him another bow almost as low as that he had bestowed 
upon the gate-post. 

" Sir," said he, hat gracefully flourished in the air 
" your very humble obedient servant to command." 

" A humble obedient fiddlestick, sir ! " retorted the 
new comer. " Pooh, sir ! — I say dammit ! — are ye mad, 
sir, to go bowing and scraping to a gate-post, as though 
it were an Admiral of the Fleet or Nelson himself — are 
ye mad or only drunk, sir? I say, what d' ye mean? " 

Here Barnabas put on his hat and opened the book. 

" Plainly, sir," he answered, " being overcome with a 
sudden desire to bow to something or other, I bowed to 
that gate-post in want of a worthier object; but now, 
seeing you arrive so very opportunely, I '11 take the 
liberty of trying another. Oblige me by observing if 
my expression is sufficiently engaging," and with the 
words Barnabas bowed as elaborately as before. 

" Sink me ! " exclaimed the one-armed individual, 
rounder of eye than ever, " the fellow 's mad — stark, 
staring mad." 

Of the. Art of Bowing 47 

" No, indeed, sir," smiled Barnabas, reassuringly, 
" but the book here — which I am given to understand 
is wholly infallible — says that to bow is the most 
important item of a gentlemanly equipment, and in the 
World of Fashion — " 

" In the World of Fashion, sir, there are no gentlemen 
left," his hearer broke in. 

" How, sir — ? " 

" I say no, sir, no one. I say, damme, sir — " 

" But, sir — " 

"I say there are no gentlemen in the fashionable 
world — they are all blackguardly Bucks, cursed Corin- 
thians, and mincing Macaronies nowadays, sir. Fashion- 
able world — bah, sir ! " 

" But, sir, is not the Prince himself — " 

" The Prince, sir ! " Here the one-armed gentleman 
clapped on his hat and snorted, " The Prince is a — 
prince, sir ; he 's also an authority on sauce and shoe- 
buckles. Let us talk of something more interesting — 
yourself, for instance." 

Barnabas bowed. 

" Sir," said he, " my name is Barnabas — Barnabas 

" Hum ! " said the other, thoughtfully, " I remember a 
Beverley — a lieutenant under Hardy in the ' Agamem- 
non ' — though, to be sure, he spelt his name with an 
< 1-e-y.' " 

" So do I, sir," said Barnabas. 


" Secondly, I am on my way to London." 

" London ! Egad ! here 's another of 'em ! London, 
of course — well ? " 

" Where I hope to cut some figure in the — er — 
World of Fashion." 

" Fashion — Gog and Magog ! — why not try drowning. 
'T would be simpler and better for you in the long run. 
London I Fashion ! in that hat, that coat, those — " 

" Sir," said Barnabas, flushing, " I have already — " 

48 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Fashion, eh? Why, then, you must cramp that 
chest into an abortion, all collar, tail, and buttons, and 
much too tight to breathe in; you must struggle into 
breeches tight enough to burst, and cram your feet into 
bepolished torments — " 

" But, sir," Barnabas ventured again, " surely the 
Prince himself is accountable for the prevailing fashion,, 
and as you must know, he is said to be the First Gentle- 
man in Europe and — " 

"Fiddle-de-dee and the devil, sir! — who says he is? 
A set of crawling sycophants, sir — a gang of young 
reprobates and bullies. First Gentleman in — I say pish, 
sir! I say bah! Don't I tell you that gentlemen went 
out o' fashion when Bucks came in? I say there is n't a 
gentleman left in England except perhaps one or two. 
This is the age of your swaggering, prize-fighting Cor- 
inthians. London swarms with 'em, Brighton 's rank with 
'em, yet they pervade even these solitudes, damme! I 
saw one of 'em only half an hour ago, limping out of 
a wood yonder. Ah ! a polished, smiling rascal — a 
dangerous rogue ! One of your sleepy libertines — one 
of your lucky gamblers — one of your conscienceless 
young reprobates equally ready to win your money, ruin 
your sister, or shoot you dead as the case may be, and 
all in the approved way of gallantry, sir; and, being all 
this, and consequently high in royal favor, he is become 
a very lion in the World of Fashion. Would you succeed, 
young sir, you must model yourself upon him as nearly 
as may be." 

"And he was limping, you say? " inquired Barnabas, 

" And serve him right, sir — egad ! I say damme ! he 
should limp in irons to Botany Bay and stay there if I 
had my way." 

" Did you happen to notice the color of his coat? " 
inquired Barnabas again. 

" Ay, 't was green, sir ; but what of it — have you 
seen him? " 

Of the Art of Bowing 49 

" I think I have, sir," said Barnabas, " if 't was a greea 
coat he wore. Pray, sir, what might his name be? " 

" His name, sir, is Carnaby — Sir Mortimer Carnaby." 

" Sir Mortimer Carnaby ! " said Barnabas, nodding 
liis head. 

" And, sir," pursued his informant, regarding Barnabas 
from beneath his frowning brows, " since it is your 
ambition to cut a figure in the World of Fashion, your 
test course is to cultivate him, frequent his society as 
much as possible, act upon his counsel, and in six months, 
or less, I don't doubt you '11 be as polished a young 
blackguard as any of 'em. Good morning, sir." 

Here the one-armed gentleman nodded and turned 
io enter the field. 

" Sir," said Barnabas, " one moment ! Since you 
liave been so obliging as to describe a Buck, will you 
tell me who and what in your estimation is a gentleman? " 

"A gentleman? Egad, sir! must I tell you that? 
No, I say I won't — the Bo'sun shall." Hereupon the 
speaker faced suddenly about and raised his voice : " Aft 
"there ! " he bellowed. " Pass the word for the Bo'sun — 
I say where 's Bo'sun Jerry? " 

Immediately upon these words there came another 
roar surprisingly hoarse, deep, and near at hand. 

" Ay, ay, sir ! here I be, Cap'n," the voice bellowed 
back. " Here I be, sir, my helm hard a-starboard, 
studden sails set, and all a-drawing alow and aloft, but 
making bad weather on it on account o' these here furrers 
and this here jury-mast o' mine, but I '11 fetch up along- 
side in a couple o' tacks." 

Now glancing in the direction of the voice, Barnabas 
perceived a head and face that bobbed up and down on 
the opposite side of the hedge. A red face it was, a 
jovial, good-humored face, lit up with quick, bright eyes 
that twinkled from under a prodigious pair of eyebrows; 
a square honest face whose broad good nature beamed 
out from a mighty bush of curling whisker and pigtail, 
and was surmounted by a shining, glazed hat. 

50 The Amateur Gentleman 

Being come opposite to them, he paused to mop at 
his red face with a neckerchief of vivid hue, which done, 
he touched the brim of the glazed hat, and though 
separated from them by no more than the hedge and 
ditch, immediately let out another roar — for all the world 
as though he had been hailing the maintop of a Seventy- 
four in a gale of wind. 

" Here I be, Cap'n ! " he bellowed, " studden sails set 
an' drawing, tho' obleeged to haul my wind, d' ye see, on 
account o' this here spar o' mine a-running foul o' the 
furrers." Having said the which, he advanced again with 
a heave to port and a lurch to starboard very like a ship 
in a heavy sea; this peculiarity of gait was explained as 
he hove into full view, for then Barnabas saw that his 
left leg was gone from the knee and had been replaced 
by a wooden one. 

" Bo'sun," said the Captain, indicating Barnabas, with 
a flap of his empty sleeve, " Bo'sun — favor me, I say 
oblige me by explaining to this young gentleman your 
opinion of a gentleman — I say tell him who you think is 
the First Gentleman in Europe ! " 

The Bo'sun stared from Barnabas to the Captain and 
back again. 

" Begging your Honor's parding," said he, touching 
the brim of the glazed hat, " but surely nobody don't 
need to be told that 'ere? " 

" It would seem so, Jerry." 

" Why then, Cap'n — since you ax me, I should tell 
you — bold an' free like, as the First Gentleman in 
Europe — ah ! or anywhere else — was Lord Nelson an' 
your Honor." 

As he spoke the Bo'sun stood up very straight despite 
his wooden leg, and when he touched his hat again, his 
very pigtail seemed straighter and stiffer than ever. 

" Young sir," said the Captain, regarding Barnabas 
from the corners of his eyes, " what d' ye say to that? " 

" Why," returned Barnabas, " now I come to think of 
it, I believe the Bo'sun is right." 

Of the Art of Bowing 5 1 

" Sir," nodded the Captain, " the Bo'sun generally is ; 
my Bo'sun, sir, is as remarkable as that leg of his which 
he has contrived so that it will screw on or off — in 
sections sir — I mean the wooden one." 

" But," said Barnabas, beginning to stroke his chin in 
the argumentative way that was all his father's, " but, 
sir, I was meaning gentlemen yet living, and Lord Nelson, 
unfortunately, is dead." 

" Bo'sun," said the Captain, " what d' ye say to that? " 

" Why, Cap'n, axing the young gentleman's pardon, I 
beg leave to remark, or as you might say, ob-serve, as 
men like 'im don't die, they jest gets promoted, so to 

" Very true, Jerry," nodded the Captain again, " they 
do, but go to a higher service, very true. And now, 
Bo'sun, the bread ! " 

" Ay, ay, sir ! " said the Bo'sun, and, taking the neat 
parcel the Captain held out, dropped it forthwith into 
the crown of the glazed hat. 

" Bo'sun, the meat ! the young fool will be hungry by 
now, poor lad ! " 

" Ay, ay, Cap'n ! " And, the meat having disappeared 
into the same receptacle, the Bo'sun resumed his hat. 
Now turning to Barnabas, the Captain held out his hand. 

" Sir," said he, " I wish you good-by and a prosperous 
voyage, and may you find yourself too much a man ever 
to fall so low as ' fashion,' — I say dammit ! The bread 
and meat, sir, are for a young fool who thinks, like your- 
self, that the World of Fashion is the world. By heaven, 
sir, I say by Gog and Magog ! if I had a son with fashion- 
able aspirations, I 'd have him triced up to the triangles 
and flogged with the 6 cat ' — I say with the cat-o'-nine- 
tails, sir, that is — no I would n't, besides I — never had 
a son — she — died, sir — and good-by ! " 

" Stay," said Barnabas, " pray tell me to whom I am 
indebted for so much good instruction." 

" My name, sir, is Chumly — plain Chumly — spelt 
with a U and an M, sir; none of your OLMONDELEYS 


52 The Amateur Gentleman 

for me, sir, and I beg you to know that I have no crest 
or monogram or coat of arms ; there 's neither or, azure, 
nor argent about me ; I 'm neither rampant, nor passant, 
nor even regardant. And I want none of your sables, 
ermines, bars, escallops, embattled fiddle-de-dees, or den- 
cette tarradiddles, sir. I 'm Chumly, Captain John 
Chumly, plain and without any fashionable varnish. 
Consequently, though I have commanded many good ships, 
sloops, frigates, and even one Seventy-four — " 

"The 'Bully-Sawyer,' Trafalgar!" added the Bo'sun. 

" Seeing I am only John Chumly, with a U and an 
M, I retire still a captain. Now, had I clapped in an 
OLMONDELEY and the rest of the fashionable gew- 
gaws, I should now be doubtless a Rear Admiral at the 
very least, for the polite world — the World of Fashion 
is rampant, sir, not to mention passant and regardant. 
So, if you would achieve a reputation among Persons of 
Quality nowadays — bow, sir, bow everywhere day in and 
day out — keep a supple back, young sir, and spell your 
name with as many unnecessary letters as you can. And 
as regards my idea of a gentleman, he is, I take it, a man 
— who is gentle — I say good morning, young sir." As 
he ended, the Captain took off his hat, with his remaining 
arm put it on again, and then reached out, suddenly, and 
clapped Barnabas upon the shoulder. " Here 's wishing 
you a straight course, lad," said he with a smile, every 
whit as young and winning as that which curved the lips 
of Barnabas, " a fair course and a good, clean wind to 
blow all these fashionable fooleries out of your head. 
Good-by ! " So he nodded, turned sharp about and went 
upon his way. 

Hereupon the Bo'sun shook his head, took off the 
glazed hat, stared into it, and putting it on again, turned 
and stumped along beside Barnabas. 



" The ' Bully-Sawyer,' Trafalgar ! " murmured the Bo'sun, 
as they went on side by side ; " you 've 'eerd o' the ' Bully- 
Sawyer,' Seventy-four, o' course, young sir? " 

" I 'm afraid not," said Barnabas, rather apologetically. 

" Not 'eerd o' the 6 Bully-Sawyer,' Seventy-four, Lord, 
young sir ! axing your pardon, but — not 'eerd o' the — 
why, she were in the van that day one o' the first to 
engage the enemy — but a cable's length to wind'ard o* 
the ' Victory ' — one o' the first to come up wi' the Moun- 
seers, she were. An' now you tell me as you ain't 'eerd o' 
the — Lord, sir ! " and the Bo'sun sighed, and shook his 
head till it was a marvel how the glazed hat kept its 

" Won't you tell me of her, Bo'sun? " 

" Tell you about the old 6 Bully-Sawyer,' Seventy-four, 
ay surely, sir, surely. Ah ! 't were a grand day for us, a 
grand day for our Nelson, and a grand day for England 

— that twenty-first o' October — though 't were that day 
as they French and Spanishers done for the poor old 
* Bully-Sawyer,' Seventy-four, and his honor's arm and 
my leg, d' ye see. The wind were light that day as we 
bore down on their line — in two columns, d' ye see, sir 

— we was in Nelson's column, the weather line 'bout a 
cable's length astarn o' the s Victory.' On we went, creep- 
ing nearer and nearer — the 6 Victory,' the old ' Bully- 
Sawyer,' and the ' Temeraire ' — and every now and then 
the Mounseers trying a shot at us to find the range, d' ye 
see. Right ahead o' us lay the ' Santissima Trinidado ' 

54 The Amateur Gentleman 

— a great four-decker, young sir — astarn o' her was the 
i Beaucenture,' and astarn o' her again, the ' Redoutable,' 
wi' eight or nine others. On we went wi' the Admiral's 
favorite signal flying, 6 Engage the enemy more closely.' 
Ah, young sir, there were n't no stand-offishness about our 
Nelson, God bless him! As we bore closer their shot be- 
gan to come aboard o' us, but the old ' Bully-Sawyer ' 
never took no notice, no, not so much as a gun. Lord! 
I can see her now as she bore down on their line; every 
sail drawing aloft, the white decks below — the gleam o' 
her guns wi' their crews stripped to the waist, every eye 
on the enemy, every man at his post — very different she 
looked an hour arterwards. Well, sir, all at once the great 
6 Santissima Trinidado ' lets fly at us wi' her whole four 
tiers o' broadside, raking us fore and aft, and that begun 
it ; down comes our foretopmast wi' a litter o' falling 
spars and top-hamper, and the decks was all at once 
splashed, here and there, wi' ugly blotches. But, Lord! 
the old ' Bully-Sawyer ' never paid no heed, and still the 
men stood to the guns, and his Honor, the Captain, 
strolled up and down, chatting to his flag officer. Then 
the enemy's ships opened on us one arter another, the 
' Beaucenture,' the * San Nicholas,' and the ' Redoutable ' 
swept and battered us wi' their murderous broadsides; 
the air seemed full o' smoke and flame, and the old ' Bully- 
Sawyer ' in the thick o' it. But still we could see the 
6 Victory ' through the drifting smoke ahead o' us wi' the 
signal flying, ' Engage the enemy more closely,' and still 
we waited and waited very patient, and crept down on the 
enemy nearer and nearer. 

" And every minute their fire grew hotter, and their 
aim truer — down came our mizzen-topgallant-mast, and 
hung down over our quarter ; away went our bowsprit — 
but we held on till we struck their line 'twixt the ' San- 
tissima Trinidado ' and the f Beaucenture,' and, as we 
crossed the Spanisher's wake, so close that our yard-arms 
grazed her gilded starn, up flashed his Honor's sword, 
6 Now. lads ! ' cried he, hailing the guns — and then — 

Concerning the " Belisarius" 55 

why then, afore I 'd took my whistle from my lips, the old 
6 Bully-Sawyer,' as had been so patient, so very patient, 
let fly wi' every starboard gun as it bore, slap into the 
great Spanisher's towering starn, and, a moment arter, 
her larboard guns roared and flamed as her broadside 
smashed into the • Beaucenture,' and 'bout five minutes 
arterwards we fell aboard o' the ' Fougeux,' and there 
we lay, young sir, and fought it out yard-arm to yard- 
arm, and muzzle to muzzle, so close that the flame o' their 
guns blackened and scorched us, and we was obliged to 
heave buckets o' water, arter every discharge, to put out 
the fire. Lord ! but the poor old 6 Bully-Sawyer ' were in 
a tight corner then, what wi' the ' Fougeux ' to port, the 
' Beaucenture ' to starboard, and the great Spanisher 
hammering us astarn, d'ye see. But there was our lads 
— what was left o' 'em — reeking wi' sweat, black wi' 
powder, splashed wi' blood, fighting the guns ; and there 
was his Honor the Cap'n, leaning against the quarter-rail 
wi' his sword in one hand, and his snuff-box in t' other — 
he had two hands then, d' ye see, young sir ; and there was 
me, hauling on the tackle o' one o' the quarter- guns — it 
happened to be short-handed, d' ye see — when, all at once, 
I felt a kind o' shock, and there I was flat o' my back, 
and wi' the wreckage o' that there quarter-gun on this here 
left leg o' mine, pinning me to the deck. As I lay there I 
heerd our lads a cheering above the roar and din, and 
presently, the smoke lifting a bit, I see the Spanisher had 
struck, but I likewise see as the poor old 6 Bully-Sawyer ' 
were done for ; she lay a wreck — black wi' smoke, blis- 
tered wi' fire, her decks foul wi' blood, her fore and main- 
masts beat overboard, and only the mizzen standing. All 
this I see in a glance — ah ! and something more — for the 
mizzen-topgallant had been shot clean through at the 
cap, and hung dangling. But now, what wi' the quiver 
o' the guns and the roll o' the vessel, down she come 
sliding, and sliding, nearer and nearer, till the splintered 
end brought up ag'in the wreck o' my gun. But presently 
I see it begin to slide ag'in nearer to me — very slow, d' ye 

56 The Amateur Gentleman 

see — inch by inch, and there 's me pinned on the flat o' 
my back, watching it come. ■ Another foot,' I sez, ' and 
there 's an end o' Jerry Tucker — another ten inches, an- 
other eight, another six.' Lord, young sir, I heaved and 
I strained at that crushed leg o' mine; but there I was, 
fast as ever, while down came the t'gallant — inch by inch. 
Then, all at once, I kinder let go o' myself. I give a shout, 
sir, and then — why then — there 's his Honor the Cap'n 
leaning over me. 'Is that you, Jerry?' sez he — for I 
were black wi' powder, d' ye see, sir. * Is that you, Jerry? ' 
sez he. * Ay, ay, sir,' sez I, ' it be me surely, till this 
here spar slips down and does for me.' ' It shan't do 
that,' sez he, very square in the jaw. ' It must,' sez I. 
4 No,' sez he. ' Nothing to stop it, sir,' sez I. ' Yes, 
there is,' sez he. ' What 's that,' sez I. ' This,' sez he, 
'twixt his shut teeth, young sir. And then, under that 
there hellish, murdering piece of timber, the Cap'n sets his 
hand and arm — his naked hand and arm, sir ! 6 In the 
name o' God ! ' I sez, ' let it come, sir ! ' ' And lose my 
Bo'sun? — not me!' sez he. Then, sir, I see his face go 
white — and whiter. I heerd the bones o' his hand and 
arm crack — like so many sticks — and down he falls 
atop o' me in a dead faint, sir. 

" But the t'gallant were stopped, and the life were 
kept in this here carcase o' mine. So — that 's how the 
poor old ' Bully-Sawyer,' Seventy-four, were done for — 
that 's how his Honor lost his arm, and me my leg, sir. 
And theer be the stocks, and theer be our young gentle- 
man inside o' 'em, as cool and smiling and comfortable 
as you please." 



Before them was a church, a small church, gray with age, 
and, like age, lonely. It stood well back from the road 
which wound away down the hill to the scattered cottages 
in the valley below. 

About this church was a burial ground, upon whose 
green mounds and leaning headstones the great square 
tower cast a protecting shadow that was like a silent bene- 
diction. A rural graveyard this, very far removed from 
the strife and bustle of cities, and, therefore, a good place 
to sleep in. 

A low stone wall was set about it, and in the wall was 
a gate with a weather-beaten porch, and beside the gate 
were the stocks, and in the stocks, with his hands in his 
pockets, and his back against the wall, sat a young 

A lonely figure, indeed, whose boots, bright and pol- 
ished, were thrust helplessly enough through the leg-holes 
of the stocks, as though offering themselves to the notice 
of every passer-by. Tall he was, and point-de-mce from 
those same helpless boots to the gleaming silver buckle in 
his hat band. 

Now observing the elegance of his clothes, and the 
modish languor of his lounging figure, Barnabas at once 
recognized him as a gentleman par excellence, and imme- 
diately the memory of his own country-made habiliments 
and clumsy boots arose and smote him. The solitary pris- 
oner seemed in no whit cast down by his awkward and 

58 The Amateur Gentleman 

most undignified situation, indeed, as they drew nearer, 
Barnabas could hear him whistling softly to himself. At 
the sound of their approach, however, he glanced up, and 
observed them from under the brim of the buckled hat with 
a pair of the merriest blue eyes in the world. 

" Aha, Jerry ! " he cried, " whom do you bring to tri- 
umph over me in my abasement? For shame, Jerry! Is 
this the act of a loving and affectionate Bo'sun, the Bo'sun 
of my innocent childhood ? Oh, bruise and blister me ! " 

" Why, sir," answered the Bo'sun, beaming through his 
whiskers, " this be only a young genelman, like yourself, 
as be bound for Lonnon, Master Horatio." 

The face, beneath the devil-may-care rake of the 
buckled hat, was pale and handsome, and, despite its 
studied air of gentlemanly weariness, the eyes were singu- 
larly quick and young, and wholly ingenuous. 

Now, as they gazed at each other, eye to eye — the 
merry blue and the steadfast gray — suddenly, unaffect- 
edly, as though drawn by instinct, their hands reached out 
and met in a warm and firm clasp, and, in that instant, 
the one forgot his modish languor, and the other his 
country clothes and blunt-toed boots, for the Spirit of 
Youth stood between them, and smile answered smile. 

" And so you are bound for London, sir ; pray, are 
you in a hurry to get there? " 

" Not particularly," Barnabas rejoined. 

" Then there you have the advantage of me, for I am, 
sir. But here I sit, a martyr for conscience sake. Now, 
sir, if you are in no great hurry, and have a mind to 
travel in company with a martyr, just as soon as I am 
free of these bilboes, we '11 take the road together. What 
d' ye say? " 

" With pleasure ! " answered Barnabas. 

" Why then, sir, pray sit down. I blush to offer you 
the stocks, but the grass is devilish dewy and damp, and 
there 's deuce a chair to be had — which is only natural, of 
course ; but pray sit somewhere until the Bo'sun, like the 
jolly old dog he is, produces the key, and lets me out. 

Of the Perversity of Fathers 59 

Bo'sun, you '11 perceive the gentleman is waiting, and, for 
that matter, so am I. The key, Jerry, the key." 

" Axing your pardons, gentlemen both," began the 
Bo'sun, taking himself by the starboard whisker, " but 
orders is orders, and I was to tell you, Master Horatio, sir, 
as there was firstly a round o' beef cold, for breakfus ! " 

" Beef ! " exclaimed the prisoner, striking himself on 
the crown of the hat. 

" Next a smoked tongue — " continued the Bo'sun. 

" Tongue ! " sighed the prisoner, turning to Barna- 
bas. " You hear that, sir, my unnatural father and 
uncle batten upon rounds of beef, and smoked tongues, 
while I sit here, my legs at a most uncomfortable angle, 
and my inner man as empty as a drum; oh, confound and 
curse it ! " 

" A brace o' cold fowl," went on the Bo'sun inexorably ; 
" a biled 'am — " 

" Enough, Jerry, enough, lest I forget filial piety and 
affection and rail upon 'em for heartless gluttons." 

" And," pursued the Bo'sun, still busy with his whisker 
and abstracted of eye — " and I were to say as you was 
now free to come out of they stocks — " 

" Aha, Jerry ! even the most Roman of fathers can 
relent, then. Out with the key, Jerry ! Egad ! I can posi- 
tively taste that beef from here ; unlock me, Jerry, that I 
may haste to pay my respects to Roman parent, uncle, 
and beef — last, but not least, Jerry — " 

" Always supposing," added the Bo'sun, giving a final 
twist to his whisker, " that you 've 'ad time to think better 
on it, d' ye see, and change your mind, Master Horatio, 
my Lord." 

Barnabas pricked up his ears; a lord, and in the 
stocks ! preposterous ! and yet surely these were the 
boots, and clothes, and hat of a lord. 

" Change my mind, Jerry ! " exclaimed his Lordship, 
" impossible ; you know I never change my mind. What I 
yield up my freedom for a mess of beef and tongue, or 
even a brace of cold fowl — " 

60 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Not to mention a cold biled 'am, Master Horatio, 


" No, Jerry, not for all the Roman parents, rounds of 
beef, tyrannical uncles and cold hams in England. Tempt 
me no more, Jerry ; Bo'sun, avaunt, and leave me to melan- 
choly and emptiness. " 

" Why then," said the Bo'sun, removing the glazed hat 
and extracting therefrom the Captain's meat packages, 
" I were to give you this meat, Master Horatio, beef and 
bread, my Lord." 

" From the Captain, I '11 be sworn, eh, Jerry? " 

" Ay, ay, my Lord, from his Honor the Cap'n." 

" Now God bless him for a tender-hearted old martinet, 
eh, Bo'sun?" 

" Which I begs to say, amen, Master Horatio, sir." 

" To be sure there is nothing Roman about my uncle." 
Saying which, his Lordship, tearing open the packages, and 
using his fingers as forks, began to devour the edibles with 
huge appetite. 

" There was a tongue, I think you mentioned, Jerry," 
he inquired suddenly. 

" Ay, sir, likewise a cold biled 'am." 

His Lordship sighed plaintively. 

" And yet," said he, sandwiching a slice of beef between 
two pieces of bread with great care and nicety, " who 
would be so mean-spirited as to sell that freedom which 
is the glorious prerogative of man (and which I beg you 
to notice is a not unpleasing phrase, sir) who, I demand, 
would surrender this for a base smoked tongue? " 

" Not forgetting a fine, cold biled 'am, Master Horatio, 
my Lord. And now, wi' your permission, I '11 stand away 
for the village, leaving you to talk, wi' this here young 
gentleman and take them vittles aboard, till I bring up 
alongside again, Cap'n's orders, Master Horatio." Saying 
which, the Bo'sun touched the glazed hat, went about, and, 
squaring his yards, bore away for the village. 

" Sir," said his Lordship, glancing whimsically at Bar- 
nabas over his fast-disappearing hunch of bread and meat, 

Of the Perversity of Fathers 6 1 

'* you have never been — called upon to — sit in the 
stocks, perhaps? " 

" Never — as yet," answered Barnabas, smiling. 

" Why, then, sir, let me inform you the stocks have 
their virtues. I '11 not deny a chair is more comfortable, 
and certainly more dignified, but give me the stocks for 
thought, there 's nothing like 'em for profound meditation. 
The Bible says, I believe, that one should seek the seclu- 
sion of one's closet, but, believe me, for deep reverie there 5 s 
nothing like the stocks. You see, a poor devil has nothing 
else to do, therefore he meditates." 

" And pray," inquired Barnabas, " may I ask what 
brings you sitting in this place of thought? " 

" Three things, sir, namely, matrimony, a horse race, 
and a father. Three very serious matters, sir, and the 
last the gravest of all. For you must know I am, shall 
I say — blessed? yes, certainly, blessed in a father who is 
essentially Roman, being a man of his word, sir. Now a 
man of his word, more especially a father, may prove a 
very mixed blessing. Speaking of fathers, generally, sir, 
you may have noticed that they are the most unreasonable 
class of beings, and delight to arrogate to themselves an 
authority which is, to say the least, trying; my father es- 
pecially so — for, as I believe I hinted before, he is so 
infernally Roman." 

" Indeed," smiled Barnabas, " the best of fathers are, 
after all, only human." 

" Aha ! " cried his Lordship, " there speaks expe- 
rience. And yet, sir, these human fathers, one and all, 
believe in what I may term the divine right of fathers 
to thwart, and bother, and annoy sons old enough to 
be — ha — " 

" To know their own minds," said Barnabas. 

" Precisely," nodded his Lordship. " Consequently, my 
Roman father and I fell out — my honored Roman and 
I frequently do fall out — but this morning, sir, unfor- 
tunately 't was before breakfast." Here his Lordship 
snatched a hasty bite of bread and meat with great appe- 

62 The Amateur Gentleman 

tite and gusto, while Barnabas sat, dreamy of eye, staring 
away across the valley. 

" Pray," said he suddenly, yet with his gaze still far 
away, " do you chance to be acquainted with a Sir Mor- 
timer Carnaby? " 

" Acquainted," cried his Lordship, speaking with his 
mouth full. " Oh, Gad, sir, every one who is any one is 
acquainted with Sir Mortimer Carnaby." 

■" Ah ! " said Barnabas musingly, " then you probably 
know him." 

" He honors me with his friendship." 

" Hum ! " said Barnabas. 

Here his Lordship glanced up quickly and with a slight 
contraction of the brow. 

" Sir," he retorted, with a very creditable attempt at 
dignity, despite the stocks and his hunch of bread and 
meat, " Sir, permit me to add that I am proud of his 

" And pray," inquired Barnabas, turning his eyes sud- 
denly to his companion's face, " do you like him? " 

"Like him, sir!" 

" Or trust him ! " persisted Barnabas, steadfast-eyed. 

" Trust him, sir," his Lordship repeated, his gaze be- 
ginning to wander, " trust him ! " Here, chancing to 
espy what yet remained of the bread and meat, he imme- 
diately took another bite, and when he spoke it was in a 
somewhat muffled tone in consequence. "Trust him? 
Egad, sir, the boot 's on t' other leg, for 'twixt you and 
me, I owe him a cool thousand, as it is ! " 

" He is a great figure in the fashionable world, I under- 
stand," said Barnabas. 

" He is the most admired Buck in London, sir," nodded 
his Lordship, " the most dashing, the most sought after, a 
boon companion of Royalty itself, sir, the Corinthian of 

" Do you mean," said Barnabas, with his eyes on the 
distance again, " that he is a personal friend of the 

Of the Perversity of Fathers 63 

" One of the favored few," nodded his Lordship, " and, 
talking of him, brings us back to my honored Roman." 

" How so? " inquired Barnabas, his gaze on the distance 
once more. 

" Because, sir, with that unreasonableness peculiar to 
fathers, he has taken a violent antipathy to my friend 
Carnaby, though, as far as I know, he has never met my 
friend Carnaby. This morning, sir, my father summoned 
me to the library. ' Horatio,' says he, in his most Roman 
manner, — he never calls me Horatio unless about to treat 
me to the divine right of fathers, — ' Horatio,' says he, 
' you 're old enough to marry.' ' Indeed, I greatly fea^ 
so, sir,' says I. ' Then,' says he, solemn as an owl, ' why 
not settle down here and marry? ' Here he named a cer- 
tain lovely person whom, 'twixt you and me, sir> I have 
long ago determined to marry, but, in my own time, be it 
understood. ' Sir,' said I, ' believe me I would ride over 
and settle the matter with her this very morning, only that 
I am to race " Moonraker " (a horse of mine, you '11 under- 
stand, sir) against Sir Mortimer Carnaby's " Clasher " 
and if I should happen to break my neck, it might disap- 
point the lady in question, or even break her heart.' 
' Horatio,' says my Roman — more Roman than ever — 
' I strongly disapprove of your sporting propensities, and, 
more especially, the circle of acquaintances you have 
formed in London.' ' Blackguardedly Bucks and cursed 
Corinthians ! ' snarls my uncle, the Captain, flapping his 
empty sleeve at me. • That, sirs, I deeply regret,' says 
I, preserving a polite serenity, ' but the match is made, 
and a man must needs form some circle of acquaintance 
when he lives in London.' ' Then,' says my honored Ro- 
man, with that lack of reasonableness peculiar to fathers, 
6 don't live in London, and as for the horse match give it 
up.' ' Quite impossible, sir,' says I, calmly determined, 
' the match has been made and recorded duly at White's, 
and if you were as familiar with the fashionable sporting 
set as I, you would understand.' ' Pish, boy,' says my 
Roman — 't is a trick fathers have at such times of cast- 

64 The Amateur Gentleman 

Ing one's youth in one's teeth, you may probably have 
noticed this for yourself, sir — ' Pish, boy,' says he, ' I 
know, I know, I 've lived in London ! ' 6 True, sir,' says I, 
* but things have changed since your day, your customs 
went out with your tie-wigs, and are as antiquated as your 
wide-skirted coats and buckled shoes ' — this was a sly dig 
at my worthy uncle, the Captain, sir. ' Ha ! ' cries he, flap- 
ping his empty sleeve at me again, ' and nice figure-heads 
you made of yourselves with your ridiculous stocks and 
skin-tight breeches,' and indeed," said his Lordship, stoop- 
ing to catch a side-view of his imprisoned legs, " they are 
a most excellent fit, I think you '11 agree." 

" Marvellous ! " sighed Barnabas, observing them with 
the eyes of envy. 

" Well, sir," pursued his Lordship, " the long and short 
of it was — my honored Roman, having worked himself 
into a state of 6 divine right ' necessary to the occasion, 
vows that unless I give up the race and spend less time 
and money in London, he will clap me into the stocks. 
6 Then, sir,' says I, smiling and unruffled, 6 pray clap me 
in as soon as you will ' ; and he being, as I told you, a 
man of his word, — well — here I am." 

" Where I find you enduring your situation with a re- 
markable fortitude," said Barnabas. 

" Egad, sir ! how else should I endure it? I flatter myself 
I am something of a philosopher, and thus, enduring in 
the cause of freedom and free will, I scorn my bonds, and 
am consequently free. Though, I '11 admit, 'twixt you and 
me, sir, the position cramps one's legs most damnably." 

" Now in regard to Sir Mortimer Carnaby," persisted 
Barnabas, " your father, it would seem, neither likes nor 
trusts him." 

" My father, sir, is — a father, consequently perverse. 
Sir Mortimer Carnaby is my friend, therefore, though my 
father has never met Sir Mortimer Carnaby, he takes a 
mortal antipathy to Sir Mortimer Carnaby, Q.E.D., and 
all the rest of it." 

" On the other hand," pursued Barnabas the steadfast- 

Of the Perversity of Fathers 65 

eyed, " you — admire, respect, and honor your friend Sir 
Mortimer Carnaby ! " 

"Admire him, sir, who wouldn't? There isn't such 
another all-round sportsman in London — no, nor Eng- 
land. Only last week he drove cross-country in his tilbury 
over hedges and ditches, fences and all, and never turned 
a hair. Beat the s Fighting Tanner ' at Islington in four 
rounds, and won over ten thousand pounds in a single 
night's play from Egalite d'Orleans himself. Oh, 
egad, sir ! Carnaby 's the most wonderful fellow in the 

" Though a very indifferent boxer ! " added Barnabas. 

" Indiff — ! " His Lordship let fall the last fragments 
of his bread and meat, and stared at Barnabas in wide-eyed 
amazement. " Did you say — indifferent? " 

" I did," nodded Barnabas, " he is much too passionate 
ever to make a good boxer." 

" Why, deuce take me ! I tell you there is n't a pugilist 
in England cares to stand up to him with the muffles, or 
bare knuckles ! " 

" Probably because there are no pugilists left in Eng- 
land, worth the name," said Barnabas. 

" Gad, sir ! we are all pugilists nowadays — the Manly 
Art is all the fashion — and, I think, a very excellent fash- 
ion. And permit me to tell you I know what I 'm talking 
of, I have myself boxed with nearly all the best 6 milling 
coves ' in London, and am esteemed no novice at the sport. 
Indeed love of the i Fancy ' was born in me, for my father, 
sir — though occasionally Roman — was a great patron 
of the game, and witnessed the great battle between ? Glori- 
ous John Barty ' and Nathaniel Bell — " 

" At Dartford ! " added Barnabas. 

" And when Bell was knocked down, at the end of the 
fight — " 

" After the ninety-seventh round ! " nodded Barnabas. 

" My father, sir, was the first to jump into the ring and 
clasp the Champion's fist — and proud he is to tell of it ! " 

" Proud ! " said Barnabas, staring. 

66 The Amateur Gentleman 

"Proud, sir — yes, why not? so should I have been — 
so would any man have been. Why let me tell you, sir, 
at home, in the hall, between the ensign my uncle's ship 
bore through Trafalgar, and the small sword my grand- 
father carried at Blenheim, we have the belt John Barty 
wore that day." 

" His belt ! " exclaimed Barnabas, " my — John Barty's 

" So you see I should know what I am talking about. 
Therefore, when you condemn such a justly celebrated man 
of his hands as my friend Carnaby, I naturally demand to 
know who you are to pronounce judgment? " 

" I am one," answered Barnabas, " who has been taught 
the science by that very Nathaniel Bell and ' Glorious 
John ' you mention." 

" Hey — what? — what? " cried his Lordship. 

" I have boxed with them regularly every day," Barna- 
bas continued, " and I have learned that strength of arm, 
quickness of foot, and a true eye are all unavailing unless 
they be governed by a calm, unruffled temper, for passion 
clouds the judgment, and in fighting as in all else, it is 
judgment that tells in the long run." 

" Now, by heaven! " exclaimed his Lordship, jerking his 
imprisoned legs pettishly, " if I did n't happen to be sit- 
ting trussed up here, and we had a couple of pair of muffles, 
why we might have had a friendly 6 go ' just to take each 
other's measures ; as it is — " 

But at this moment they heard a hoarse bellow, and, 
looking round, beheld the Bo'sun who, redder of face than 
ever and pitching and rolling in his course, bore rapidly 
down on them, and hauling his wind, took off the glazed 

"Ha, Jerry!" exclaimed his Lordship, "what now? 
If you happen to have anything else eatable in that hat of 
yours, out with it, for I am devilish sharp-set still." 

" Why, I have got summat, Master Horatio, but it 
are n't bread nor yet beef, nor yet again biled 'am, my 
Lord — it can't be eat nor it can't be drank — and here 

Of the Perversity of Fathers 67 

it be ! " and with the words the Bo'sun produced a ponder- 
ous iron key. 

" Why, my dear old Jerry — my lovely Bo'ssa — " 

" Captured by his Honor, Master Horatio — carried 
off by the Cap'n under your own father's very own nose, 
sir — or as you might say, cut out under the enemy's 
guns, my Lord ! " With which explanation the old sailor 
unfastened the padlock, raised the upper leg-board, and 
set the prisoner free. 

" Ah ! — but it 's good to have the use of one's legs 
again ! " exclaimed his Lordship, stretching the members 
in question, " and that," said he, turning to Barnabas with 
his whimsical smile, " that is another value of the stocks — 
one never knows how pleasant and useful a pair of legs can 
be until one has sat with 'em stretched out helplessly at 
right angles for an hour or two." Here, the Bo'sun hav- 
ing stowed back the key and resumed his hat, his Lordship 
reached out and gripped his hand. " So it was Uncle 
John, was it, Jerry — how very like Uncle John — eh. 
Jerry? " 

" Never was nobody born into this here vale o' sorrer 
like the Cap'n — no, nor never will be — nohow ! " said the 
Bo'sun with a solemn nod. 

" God bless him, eh, Jerry? " 

" Amen to that, my Lord." 

" You '11 let him know I said ' God bless him,' Jerry? '* 

" I will, my Lord, ay, ay, God bless him it is, Master 
Horatio ! " 

" Now as to my Roman — my father, Jerry, tell him — 
er — " 

" Be you still set on squaring away for London, then, 
sir? " 

" As a rock, Jerry, as a rock ! " 

" Then 't is ' good-by,' you 're wishing me? " 

" Yes, ' good-by,' Jerry, remember ' God bless Uncle 
John,' and — er — tell my father that — ah, what the 
deuce shall you tell him now? — it should be something a 
little aif ecting — wholly dutiful, and above all gently dig- 

68 The Amateur Gentleman 

nified — hum ! Ah, yes — tell him that whether I win or 
lose the race, whether I break my unworthy neck or no, 
I shall never forget that I am the Earl of Bamborough's 
son. And as for you, Jerry, why, I shall always think 
of you as the jolly old sea dog who used to stoop down 
to let me get at his whiskers, they were a trifle blacker in 
those days. Gad! how I did pull 'em, Jerry, even then I 
admired your whiskers, did n't I? I swear there is n't such 
another pair in England. Good-by, Jerry ! " Saying 
which his Lordship turned swiftly upon his heel and walked 
on a pace or two, while Barnabas paused to wring the old 
seaman's brown hand; then they went on down the hill 

And the Bo'sun, sitting upon the empty stocks with his 
wooden pin sticking straight out before him, sighed as he 
watched them striding London-wards, the Lord's son, tall, 
slender, elegant, a gentleman to his finger tips, and the 
commoner's son, shaped like a young god, despite his home- 
spun, and between them, as it were linking them together, 
fresh and bright and young as the morning, went the j oy- 
ous Spirit of Youth. 

Now whether the Bo'sun saw aught of this, who shall 
say, but old eyes see many things. And thus, perhaps, the 
sigh that escaped the battered old man-o'- war's man's lips 
was only because of his own vanished youth — his gray 
head and wooden leg, after all. 



•* Sir," said his Lordship, after they had gone some way 
in silence, " you are thoughtful, not to say, devilish 
grave ! " 

" And you," retorted Barnabas, " have sighed — three 

" No, did I though ? — why then, to be candid, — I de- 
test saying ' Good-by ! ' — and I have been devoutly wish- 
ing for two pair of muffles, for, sir, I have taken a prodi- 
gious liking to you — but — " 

" But? " inquired Barnabas. 

" Some time since you mentioned the names of two men 
— champions both — ornaments of the ' Fancy ' — great 
fighters of unblemished reputation." 

" You mean my — er — that is, Natty Bell and John 

" Precisely ! — you claim to have — boxed with them, 
sir? " 

" Every day ! " nodded Barnabas. 

" With both of them, — I understand? " 

" With both of them." 


" Sir," said Barnabas, growing suddenly polite, " do you 
doubt my word? " 

" Well," answered his Lordship, with his whimsical look, 
" I '11 admit I could have taken it easier had you named 
only one, for surely, sir, you must be aware that these 
were Masters of the Fist — the greatest since the days of 
Jack Broughton and Mendoza." 

" T know each had been champion — but it would almost 

yo The Amateur Gentleman 

seem that I have entertained angels unawares ! — and I. 
boxed with both because they happened to live together." 

" Then, sir," said the Viscount, extending his hand in 
his frank, impetuous manner, " you are blest of the gods. 
I congratulate you and, incidentally, my desire for muffles 
grows apace, — you must positively put 'em on with me 
at the first opportunity." 

" Right willingly, sir," said Barnabas. 

" But deuce take me ! " exclaimed the Viscount, " if we 
are to become friends, which I sincerely hope, we ought 
at least to know each other's name. Mine, sir, is Bellasis, 
Horatio Bellasis ; I was named Horatio after Lord Nel- 
son, consequently my friends generally call me Tom, Dick, 
or Harry, for with all due respect to his Lordship, Horatio 
is a very devil of a name, now is n't it? Pray what 's 
yours ? " 

" Barnabas — Beverley. At your service." 

" Barnabas — hum ! Yours is n't much better. Egad ! 
I think 't is about as bad. Barnabas ! — No, I '11 call you 
Bev, on condition that you make mine Dick ; what d' ye 
say, my dear Bev? " 

" Agreed, Dick," answered Barnabas, smiling, where- 
upon they stopped, and having very solemnly shaken hands, 
went on again, merrier than ever. 

" Now what," inquired the Viscount, suddenly, " what 
do 3 T ou think of marriage, my dear Bev? " 

" Marriage? " repeated Barnabas, staring. 

" Marriage ! " nodded his Lordship, airily, " matrimony, 
Bev, — wedlock, my dear fellow? " 

"I — indeed I have never had occasion to think of it/' 

" Fortunate fellow ! " sighed his companion. 

"Until — this morning!" added Barnabas, as his fin- 
gers encountered a small, soft, lacy bundle in his pocket. 

" Un-fortunate fellow ! " sighed the Viscount, shaking 
his head. " So you are haunted by the grim spectre, are 
you? Well, that should be an added bond between us. Not 
that I quarrel with matrimony, mark you, Bev; in the 
abstract it is a very excellent institution, though — mark 

A Peripatetic Conversation 7 1 

me again ! — when a man begins to think of marriage it is 
generally the beginning of the end. Ah, my dear fellow! 
many a bright and promising career has been blighted — 
sapped — snapped off — and — er — ruthlessly devoured 
by the ravenous maw of marriage. There was young Eger- 
ton with a natural gift for boxing, and one of the best 
whips I ever knew — we raced our coaches to Brighton and 
back for a thousand a side and he beat me by six yards — 
a splendid all round sportsman — ruined by matrimony ! 
He 's buried somewhere in the country and passing his 
days in the humdrum pursuit of being husband and father. 
Oh, bruise and blister me ! it 's all very pitiful, and yet " — 
here the Viscount sighed again — "I do not quarrel with 
the state, for marriage has often proved a — er — very 
present help in the time of trouble, Bev." 

" Trouble? " repeated Barnabas. 

" Money-troubles, my dear Bev, pecuniary unpleasant- 
nesses, debts, and duns, and devilish things of that kind." 

" But surely," said Barnabas, " no man — no honorable 
man would marry and burden a woman with debts of his 
own contracting? " 

At this, the Viscount looked at Barnabas, somewhat 
askance, and fell to scratching his chin. " Of course," he 
continued, somewhat hurriedly, " I shall have all the money 
I need — more than I shall need some day." 

" You mean," inquired Barnabas, " when your father 

Here the Viscount's smooth brow clouded suddenly. 

" Sir," said he, " we will not mention that contingency. 
My father is a great Roman, I '11 admit, but, 'twixt you 
and me, — I — I 'm devilish fond of him, and, strangely 
enough, I prefer to have him Romanly alive and my purse 
empty — than to possess his money and have him dea — 
Oh damn it ! let 's talk of something else, — Carnaby for 

" Yes," nodded Barnabas, " your friend, Carnaby." 

" Well, then, in the first place, I think. I hinted to you 
that I owe him five thousand pounds ? " 

72 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Five thousand ! indeed, no, it was only one, when you 
mentioned it to me last." 

" Was it so ? but then, d' ye see, Bev, we were a good two 
miles nearer my honored Roman when I mentioned the 
matter before, and trees sometimes have ears, consequent!}^ 
I — er — kept it down a bit, my dear Bev, I kept it down 
a bit ; but the fact remains that it 's five, and I won't be 
sure but that there 's an odd hundred or two hanging on 
to it somewhere, beside." 

" You led your father to believe it was only one thou- 
sand, then? " 

" I did, Bev ; you see money seems to make him so in- 
fernally Roman, and I 've been going the pace a bit these 
last six months. There 's another thousand to Jerningham, 
but he can wait, then there 's six hundred to my tailor, 
deuce take him ! " 

" Six hundred ! " exclaimed Barnabas, aghast. 

" Though I won't swear it is n't seven." 

" To be sure he is a very excellent tailor," Barnabas 

" Gad, yes ! and the fellow knows it ! Then, let 's see, 
there 's another three hundred and fifty to the coach 
builders, how much does that make, Bev? " 

" Six thousand, nine hundred and fifty pounds ! " 

" So much — deuce take it ! And that 's not all, you 


" No, Bev, I dare say I could make you up another three 
or four hundred or so if I were to rake about a bit, but 
six thousand is enough to go on with, thank you ! " 

" Six thousand pounds is a deal of money to owe ! " said 

" Yes," answered the Viscount, scratching his chin 
again, " though, mark me, Bev, it might be worse i 
Slingsby, a friend of mine, got plucked for fifteen thou- 
sand in a single night last year. Oh ! it might be worse. 
As it is, Bev, the case lies thus : unless I win the race some 
three weeks from now — I 've backed myself heavily, you '11 

A Peripatetic Conversation 73 

understand — unless I win, I am between the deep sea of 
matrimony and the devil of old Jasper Gaunt." 

" And who is Jasper Gaunt? " 

" Oh. delicious innocence ! Ah, Bev ! it 's evident you 
are new to London. Gaunt is an outcome of the City, as 
harsh and dingy as its bricks, as flinty and hard as its 
pavements. Gad! most of our set know Jasper Gaunt — 
to their cost! Who is Jasper Gaunt, you ask; well, my 
dear fellow, question Slingsby of the Guards, he 's getting 
deeper every day, poor old Sling! Ask it, but in a whis- 
per, at Almack's, or White's, or Brooke's, and my Lord 
this, that, or t' other shall tell you pat and to the point 
in no measured terms. Ask it of wretched debtors in the 
prisons, of haggard toilers in the streets, of pale-faced 
women and lonely widows, and they '11 tell you, one and 
all, that' Jasper Gaunt is the harshest, most merciless 
bloodsucker that ever battened and grew rich on the pov- 
erty and suffering of his fellow men, and — oh here we 
are ! " 

Saying which, his Lordship abruptly turned down an 
unexpected and very narrow side lane, where, screened 
behind three great trees, was a small inn, or hedge tavern 
with a horse-trough before the door and a sign whereon 
was the legend, " The Spotted Cow," with a representa- 
tion of that quadruped below, surely the very spottiest of 
spotted cows that ever adorned an inn sign. 

" Not much to look at, my dear Bev," said the Viscount, 
with a wave of his hand towards the inn, " but it 's kept 
by an old sailor, a shipmate of the Bo'sun's. I can at least 
promise you a good breakfast, and the ale you will find 
excellent. But first I want to show you a very small 
demon of mine, a particularly diminutive fiend ; follow me, 
my dear fellow." 

So, by devious ways, the Viscount led Barnabas round 
to the back of the inn, and across a yard to where, beyond 
a gate, was a rick-yard, and beyond that again, a small 
field or paddock. Now, within this paddock, the admired 
of a group of gaping rustics, was the very smallest groom 

74 The Amateur Gentleman 

Barnabas had ever beheld, for, from the crown of his 
leather postilion's hat to the soles of his small top boots, 
he could not have measured more than four feet at the 
very most. 

" There he is, Bev, behold him ! " said the Viscount, with 
his whimsical smile, " the very smallest fiend, the most 
diminutive demon that ever wore top boots ! " 

The small groom was engaged in walking a fine blood 
horse up and down the paddock, or rather the horse was 
walking the groom, for the animal being very tall and 
powerful and much given to divers startings, snortings, 
and tossings of the head, it thus befell that to every step 
the diminutive groom marched on terra firma, he took one 
in mid-air, at which times, swinging pendulum-like, he 
poured forth a stream of invective that the most experi- 
enced ostler, guard, or coachman might well have envied, 
and all in a voice so gruff, so hoarse and guttural, despite 
his tender years, as filled the listening rustics with much 
apparent awe and wonder. 

" And he can't be a day older than fourteen, my dear 
Bev," said the Viscount, with a complacent nod, as they 
halted in the perfumed shade of an adj acent rick ; " that 's 
his stable voice assumed for the occasion, and, between 
you and me, I can't think how he does it. Egad ! he 's the 
most remarkable boy that ever wore livery, the sharpest, 
the gamest. I picked him up in London, a ragged urchin 
*— caught him picking my pocket. Been with me ever 
since, and I would n't part with him for his weight in 

" Picking your pocket ! " said Barnabas, " hum ! " 

The Viscount looked a trifle uncomfortable. " Why 
you see, my dear fellow," he explained, " he was so — so 
deuced — small, Bev, a wretched little pale-faced, shivering 
atomy, peeping up at me over a ragged elbow waiting to 
be thrashed, and I liked him because he did n't snivel, and 
he was too insignificant for prison, so, when he told me 
how hungry he was, I forgot to cuff his shrinking, dirty 
little head, and suggested a plate of beef at one of the a la 

A Peripatetic Conversation 75 

mode shops. 6 Beef? ' says he. ' Yes, beef,' says I, ' could 
you eat any? ' ' Beef? ' says he again, ' could n't I? why, I 
could eat a ox whole, I could ! ' So I naturally dubbed him 
Milo of Crotona on the spot." 

" And has he ever tried to pick your pocket since? " 

" No, Bev ; you see, he 's never hungry nowadays. 
Gad ! " said the Viscount, taking Barnabas by the arm, 
" I 've set the fashion in tigers, Bev. Half the fellows at 
White's and Brooke's are wild to get that very small 
demon of mine ; but he is n't to be bought or bribed or 
stolen — for what there is of him is faithful, Bev, — and 
now come in to breakfast." 

So saying, the Viscount led Barnabas across the yard 
to a certain wing or off-shoot of the inn, where beneath 
a deep, shadowy gable was a door. Yet here he must 
needs pause a moment to glance down at himself to settle 
a ruffle and adjust his hat ere, lifting the latch, he ushered 
Barnabas into a kitchen. 

A kitchen indeed? Ay, but such a kitchen ! Surely wood 
was never whiter, nor pewter more gleaming than in this 
kitchen; surely no flagstones ever glowed a warmer red; 
surely oak panelling never shone with a mellower lustre; 
surely no viands could look more delicious than the great 
joint upon the polished sideboard, flanked by the crisp loaf 
and the yellow cheese ; surely no flowers could ever bloom 
fairer or smell sweeter than those that overflowed the huge 
punch bowl at the window and filled the Uncle Toby jugs 
upon the mantel; surely nowhere could there be at one 
and the same time such dainty orderliness and comfortable 
comfort as in this kitchen. 

Indeed the historian is bold to say that within no kitchen 
in this world were all things in such a constant state of 
winking, twinkling, gleaming and glowing purity, from the 
very legs of the oaken table and chairs, to the hacked and 
battered old cutlas above the chimney, as in this self-same 
kitchen of " The Spotted Cow." 

And yet — and yet ! Sweeter, whiter, warmer, purer, 
and far more delicious than anything in this kitchen (or 

76 The Amateut Gentleman 

out of it) was she who had started up to her feet so sud- 
denly, and now stood with blushing cheeks and hurried 
bosom, gazing shy-eyed upon the young Viscount; all 
dainty grace from the ribbons in her mob-cap to the slen- 
der, buckled shoe peeping out beneath her print gown; 
and Barnabas, standing between them, saw her flush re- 
flected as it were for a moment in the Viscount's usually 
pale cheek. 

" My Lord ! " said she, and stopped. 

" Why, Clemency, you — you are — handsomer than 
ever ! " stammered the Viscount. 

" Oh, my Lord ! " she exclaimed ; and as she turned away 
Barnabas thought there were tears in her eyes. 

"Did we startle you, Clemency? Forgive me — but 
I — that is, we are — hungry, ravenous. Er — this is a 
friend of mine — Mr. Beverley — Mistress Clemency Dare; 
and oh, Clemency, I 've had no breakfast ! " 

But seeing she yet stood with head averted, the Viscount 
with a freedom born of long acquaintance, yet with a 
courtly deference also, took the hand that hung so list- 
less, and looked down into the flushed beauty of her face, 
and, as he looked, beheld a great tear that crept upon her 

" Why, Clemency ! " he exclaimed, his raillery gone, his 
voice suddenly tender, " Clemency — you 're crying, my 
dear maid ; what is it? " 

Now, beholding her confusion, and because of it, Barna- 
bas turned away and walked to the other end of the 
kitchen, and there it chanced that he spied two objects 
that lay beneath the table, and stooping, forthwith, he 
picked them up. They were small and insignificant 
enough in themselves — being a scrap of crumpled paper, 
and a handsome embossed coat button; yet as Barnabas 
gazed upon this last, he smiled grimly, and so smiling 
slipped the objects into his pocket. 

" Come now, Clemency," persisted the Viscount, gently, 
" what is wrong? " 

" Nothing ; indeed, nothing, my Lord." 

A Peripatetic Conversation 77 

" Ay, but there is. See how red your eyes are ; they 
quite spoil your beauty — " 

" Beauty ! " she cried. " Oh, my Lord ; even you ! " 

"What? What have I said? You are beautiful you 
know, Clem, and — " 

" Beauty ! " she cried again, and turned upon him 
with clenched hands and dark eyes aflame. " I hate it — 
oh, I hate it ! " and with the words she stamped her foot 
passionately, and turning, sped away, banging the door 
behind her. 

" Now, upon my soul ! " said the Viscount, taking off 
his hat and ruffling up his auburn locks, " of all the 
amazing, contradictory creatures in the world, Bev ! I 've 
known Clemency — hum — a goodish time, my dear fel- 
low; but never saw her like this before, I wonder what 
the deuce — " 

But at this juncture a door at the further end of the 
kitchen opened, and a man entered. He, like the Bo'sun, 
was merry of eye, breezy of manner, and hairy of visage ; 
but there all similarity ended, for, whereas the Bo'sun 
was a square man, this man was round — round of head, 
round of face, and round of eye. At the sight of the 
Viscount, his round face expanded in a genial smile that 
widened until it was lost in whisker, and he set two fingers 
to his round forehead and made a leg. 

"Lord love me, my Lord, and is it you?" he ex- 
claimed, clasping the hand the Viscount had extended. 
" Now, from what that imp of a bye — axing his parding 
— - your tiger, Mr. Milo, told me, I were to expect you at 
nine sharp — and here it be nigh on to ten — " 

" True, Jack ; but then both he and I reckoned with- 
out my father. My father had the bad taste to — er — 
disagree with me, hence I am late, Jack, and breakfastless, 
and my friend Mr. Beverley is as hungry as I am. Bev, 
my dear fellow, this is a very old friend of mine — Jack 
Truelove, who fought under my uncle at Trafalgar." 

" Servant, sir ! " says Jack, saluting Barnabas. 

" The ' Belisarius,' Seventy-four ! " smiled Barnabas. 

78 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Ay, ay," says Jack, with a shake of his round head, 
" the poor old ' Bully-Sawyer ' — But, Lord love me ! if 
you be hungry — " 

" Devilish ! " said the Viscount, •" but first, Jack — 
what 's amiss with Clemency? " 

" Clemency? Why, where be that niece o' mine? " 

" She 's run away, Jack. I found her in tears, and I 
had scarce said a dozen words to her when — hey presto ! 
She 's off and away." 

" Tears is it, my Lord? — and 'er sighed, too, I reckon. 
Come now — 'er sighed likewise. Eh, my Lord? " 

" Why, yes, she may have sighed, but — " 

" There," says Jack, rolling his round head knowingly, 
" it be nought but a touch o' love, my Lord." 

" Love ! " exclaimed the Viscount sharply. 

" Ah, love ! Nieces is difficult craft, and very apt to 
be took all aback by the wind o' love, as you might say 

— but Lord ! it 's only natural arter all. Ah ! the rearing 
o' motherless nieces is a ticklish matter, gentlemen — as 
to nevvys, I can't say, never 'aving 'ad none to rear — 
but nieces — Lord ! I could write a book on 'em, that is, 
s'posing I could write, which I can't ; for, as I 've told 
you many a time, my Lord, and you then but a bye over 
here on a visit, wi' the Bo'sun, or his Honor the Cap'n, 
and you no older then than — er — Mr. Milo, though 
longer in the leg, as I 've told you many a time and oft 

— a very ob-servant man I be in most things, consequent' 
I are n't observed this here niece — this Clem o' mine fair 
weather and foul wi'out laming the kind o' craft nieces 
be. Consequent', when you tell me she weeps, and like- 
wise sighs, then I make bold to tell you she 's got a touch 
o' love, and you can lay to that, my Lord." 

" Love," exclaimed the Viscount again, and frowning 
this time ; " now, who the devil should she be in love 
with!" . r 

" That, my Lord, I can't say, not having yet ob- 
served. But now, by your leave, I '11 pass the word for 

A Peripatetic Conversation 79 

Hereupon the landlord of " The Spotted Cow " opened 
the lattice, and sent a deep-lunged hail across the yard. 

" Ahoy ! " he roared, " Oliver, Penelope, Bess — break- 
fast ho ! - — breakfast for the Viscount — and friend. They 
be all watching of that theer imp — axing his pardon — 
that theer groom o' yours, what theer be of him, which 
though small ain't by no means to be despised, him being 
equally ready wi' his tongue as his fist." 

Here entered two maids, both somewhat flushed with 
haste but both equally bright of eye, neat of person, and 
light of foot, who very soon had laid a snowy cloth and 
duly set out thereon the beef, the bread and cheese, and a 
mighty ham, before which the Viscount seated himself 
forthwith, while their sailor host, more jovial than ever, 
pointed out its many beauties with an eloquent thumb. 
And so, jhaving seen his guests seated opposite each other, 
he pulled his forelock at them, made a leg to them, and 
left them to their breakfast. 



Conversation, though in itself a blessed and delightful 
thing, yet may be sometimes out of place, and wholly im- 
pertinent. If wine is a loosener of tongues, surely food 
is the greatest, pleasantest, and most complete silencer; 
for what man when hunger gnaws and food is before him 
— what man, at such a time, will stay to discuss the won- 
ders of the world, of science — or even himself? 

Thus our two young travellers, with a very proper 
respect for the noble fare before them, paid their homage 
to it in silence — but a silence that was eloquent none the 
less. At length, however, each spoke, and each with a 

The Viscount. " The ham, my dear fellow — ! " 
Barnabas. " The beef, my dear Dick — ! " 
The Viscount and Barnabas. " Is beyond words." 
Having said which, they relapsed again into a silence, 
broken only by the occasional rattle of knife and fork. 

The Viscount (hacking at the loaf). "It 's a grand 
thing to be hungry, my dear fellow." 

Barnabas (glancing over the rim of his tankard). 
" When you have the means of satisfying it — yes." 

The Viscount (becoming suddenly abstracted, and 
turning his piece of bread over and over in his fingers). 
" Now regarding — Mistress Clemency, my dear Bev ; 
what do you think of her? " 

Barnabas (helping himself to more beef). "That she 
is a remarkably handsome girl ! " 

In Which Fists Are Clenched 8 1 

The Viscount (frowning at his piece of bread). 
"Hum! d'you think so?" 

Barnabas. " Any man would. I '11 trouble you for the 
mustard, Dick." 

The Viscount. " Yes ; I suppose they would." 

Barnabas. " Some probably do — especially men with 
an eye for fine women." 

The Viscount (frowning blacker than ever). "Pray, 
what mean you by that? " 

Barnabas. " Your friend Carnaby undoubtedly does." 

The Viscount (starting). " Carnaby! Why what the 
devil put him into your head? Carnaby 's never seen her." 

Barnabas. " Indeed, I think it rather more than 

The Viscount (crushing the bit of bread suddenly in 
his fist). "Carnaby! But I tell you he hasn't — he's 
never been near this place." 

Barnabas. " There you are quite wrong." 

The Viscount (flinging himself back in his chair). 
" Beverley, what the devil are you driving at? " 

Barnabas. " I mean that he was here this morning." 

The Viscount. "Carnaby? Here? Impossible! What 
under heaven should make you think so? " 

" This," said Barnabas, and held out a small, crumpled 
piece of paper. The Viscount took it, glanced at it, and 
his knife clattered to the floor. 

" Sixty thousand pounds ! " he exclaimed, and sat star- 
ing down at the crumpled paper, wide-eyed. " Sixty thou- 
sand! " he repeated. "Is it sixty or six, Bev? Read it 
out," and he thrust the torn paper across to Barnabas, 
who, taking it up, read as follows : — 

" — felicitate you upon your marriage with the lovely 
heiress, Lady M., failing which I beg most humbly to re- 
mind you, my dear Sir Mortimer Carnaby, that the sixty 
thousand pounds must be paid back on the day agreed 
upon, namely July 16, 

" Your humble, obedient Servant, 

" Jasper Gaunt." 

82 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Jasper Gaunt ! " exclaimed the Viscount. " Sixty 
thousand pounds ! Poor Carnaby ! Sixty thousand pounds 
payable on July sixteenth! Now the fifteenth, my dear 
Bev, is the day of the race, and if he should lose, it looks 
very much as though Carnaby would be ruined, Bev." 

" Unless he marries - the lovely heiress ' ! " added 

" Hum ! " said the Viscount, frowning. " I wish I 'd 
never seen this cursed paper, Bev ! " and as he spoke he 
crumpled it up and threw it into the great fireplace. 
"Where in the name of mischief did you get it? " 

" It was in the corner yonder," answered Barnabas. 
" I also found this." And he laid a handsomely embossed 
coat button on the table. " It has been wrenched off you 
will notice." 

" Yes," nodded the Viscount, " torn off ! Do you 
think — " 

" I think," said Barnabas, putting the button back into 
his pocket, " that Mistress Clemency's tears are accounted 

" By God, Beverley," said the Viscount, an ugly light 
in his eyes, " if I thought that — ! " and the hand upon 
the table became a fist. 

" I think that Mistress Clemency is a match for any 
man — or brute," said Barnabas, and drew his hand from 
his pocket. 

Now the Viscount's fist was opening and shutting con- 
vulsively, the breath whistled between his teeth, he glanced 
towards the door, and made as though he would spring 
to his feet; but in that moment came a diversion, for 
Barnabas drew his hand from his pocket, and as he did 
so, something white fluttered to the floor, close beside the 
Viscount's chair. Both men saw it and both stooped to 
recover it, but the Viscount, being nearer, picked it up, 
glanced at it, looked at Barnabas with a knowing smile, 
glanced at it again, was arrested by certain initials em- 
broidered in one corner, stooped his head suddenly, in- 
haling its subtle perfume, and so handed it back to 

In Which Fists Are Clenched 83 

Barnabas, who took it with a word of thanks and thrust 
it into an inner pocket, while the Viscount stared at him 
under his drawn brows. But Barnabas, all unconscious, 
proceeded to cut himself another slice of beef, offering 
to do the same for the Viscount. 

" Thank jou — no," said he. 

"What — have jou done, so soon?" 

" Yes," said he, and thereafter sat watching Barnabas 
ply knife and fork, who, presently catching his eye, smiled. 

" Pray," said the Viscount after a while, " pray are you 
acquainted with the Lady Cleone Meredith? " 

" No," answered Barnabas. " I '11 trouble you for the 
mustard, Dick." 

" Have you ever met the Lady Cleone Meredith? " 

" Never," answered Barnabas, innocent of eye. 

Hereupon the Viscount rose up out of the chair and 
leaned across the table. 

" Sir," said he, " you are a most consummate liar ! " 

Hereupon Barnabas helped himself to the mustard with 
grave deliberation, then, leaning back in his chair, he 
smiled up into the Viscount's glowing eyes as politely 
and with as engaging an air as might be. 

" My Lord," said he gently, " give me leave to remark 
that he who says so, lies himself most foully." Having 
said which Barnabas set down the mustard, and bowed. 

" Mr. Beverley," said the Viscount, regarding him calm- 
eyed across the table, " there is a place I know of near 
by, a very excellent place, being hidden by trees, a smooth, 
grassy place — shall we go? " 

" Whenever you will, my Lord," said Barnabas, rising. 

Forthwith having bowed to each other and put on their 
hats, they stepped out into the yard, and so walked on 
side by side, a trifle stiffer and more upright than usual 
maybe, until they came to a stile. Here they must needs 
pause to bow once more, each wishful to give way to 
the other, and, having duly crossed the stile, they pres- 
ently came to a place, even as the Viscount had said, 
being shady with trees, and where a brook ran between 

84 The Amateur Gentleman 

steep banks. Here, too, was a small foot-bridge, with 
hand-rails supported at either end by posts. Now upon 
the right-hand post the Viscount set his hat and coat, 
and upon the left, Barnabas hung his. Then, having 
rolled up their shirt-sleeves, they bowed once more, and 
coming to where the grass was very smooth and level they 
faced each other with clenched fists. 

" Mr. Beverley," said the Viscount, " you will remember 
I sighed for muffles, but, sir, I count this more fortunate, 
for to my mind there is nothing like bare fists, after all, to 
try a man's capabilities." 

" My Lord," said Barnabas, " you will also remember 
that when I told you I had boxed daily both with ' Glorious 
John ' and Nathaniel Bell, you doubted my word? I 
therefore intend to try and convince you as speedily as 
may be." 

" Egad ! " exclaimed the Viscount, his blue eyes a-dance, 
" this is positively more than I had ventured to hope, my 
dear fell — Ah ! Mr. Beverley, at your service, sir ? " 

And, after a season, Barnabas spoke, albeit pantingly, 
and dabbing at his bloody mouth the while. 

" Sir," said he, " I trust — you are not — incommoded 
at all? " whereupon the Viscount, coming slowly to his 
elbow and gazing round about him with an expression of 
some wonder, made answer, albeit also pantingly and short 
of breath: 

" On the contrary, sir, am vastly — enj oying myself 
— shall give myself the pleasure — of continuing — just 
as soon as the ground subsides a little." 

Therefore Barnabas, still dabbing at his mouth, stepped 
forward being minded to aid him to his feet, but ere he 
could do so, a voice arrested him. 

" Stop ! " said the voice. 

Now glancing round, Barnabas beheld a man, a small 
man and slender, whose clothes, old and worn, seemed 
only to accentuate the dignity and high nobility of his 

Bareheaded he advanced towards them and his hair 

In Which Fists Are Clenched 85 

glistened silver white in the sunshine, though his brows 
were dark, like the glowing eyes below. Upon his cheek 
was the dark stain of blood, and on his lips was a smile 
ineffably sweet and gentle as he came forward, looking 
from one to the other. 

" And pray, sir," inquired the Viscount, sitting cross- 
legged upon the green, " pray, who might you be ? " 

" I am an apostle of peace, young sir," answered the 
stranger, " a teacher of forgiveness, though, doubtless, 
an unworthy one." 

" Peace, sir ! " cried the Viscount, " deuce take me 1 
— but you are the most warlike Apostle of Peace that 
eyes ever beheld ; by your looks you might have been 
fighting the Seven Champions of Christendom, one down,, 
t' other come on — " 

" You mean that I am bleeding, sir ; indeed, I fre- 
quently do, and therein is my joy, for this is the blood 
of atonement." 

" The blood of atonement ? " said Barnabas. 

" Last night," pursued the stranger in his gentle 
voice, " I sought to teach the Gospel of Mercy and Uni- 
versal Forgiveness at a country fair not so very far from 
here, and they drove me away with sticks and stones; 
indeed, I fear our rustics are sometimes woefully ignorant, 
and Ignorance is always cruel. So, to-day, as soon as the 
stiffness is gone from me, I shall go back to them, sirs, for 
even Ignorance has ears." 

Now whereupon, the Viscount got upon his legs, rather 
unsteadily, and bowed. 

" Sir," said he, " I humbly ask your pardon ; surely so 
brave an apostle should do great works." 

" Then," said the stranger, drawing nearer, " if such is 
your thought, let me see you two clasp hands." 

" But, sir," said the Viscount, somewhat taken aback, 
" indeed we have — scarcely begun — " 

" So much the better," returned the teacher of forgive- 
ness with his gentle smile, and laying a hand upon the 
arm of each. 

86 The Amateur Gentleman 

" But, sir, I went so far as to give this gentleman the 
lie ! " resumed the Viscount. 

" Which I went so far as to — return," said Barnabas. 

".But surely the matter can be explained?" inquired 
the stranger. 

" Possibly ! " nodded the Viscount, " though I generally 
leave explanations until afterwards." 

" Then," said the stranger, glancing from one proud 
young face to the other, " in this instance, shake hands 
first. Hate and anger are human attributes, but to for- 
give is Godlike. Therefore now, forget yourselves and in 
this thing be gods. For, young sirs, as it seems to me, 
it was ordained that you two should be friends. And you 
are young and full of great possibilities and friendship 
is a mighty factor in this hard world, since by friend- 
ship comes self-forgetfulness, and no man can do great 
works unless he forgets Self. So, young sirs, shake 
hands ! " 

Now, as they looked upon each other, of a sudden, 
despite his split lip, Barnabas smiled and, in that same 
moment, the Viscount held out his hand. 

" Beverley," said he, as their fingers gripped, " after 
your most convincing — shall we say, argument ? — if you 
tell me you have boxed with all and every champion back 
to Mendoza, Jack Slack, and Broughton, egad ! I '11 be- 
lieve you, for you have a devilish striking and forcible 
way with you at times ! " Here the Viscount cherished 
his bruised ribs with touches of tender inquiry. " Yes," 
he nodded, " there is a highly commendable thoroughness 
in your methods, my dear Bev, and I 'm free to confess 
I like you better and better — but — ! " 

" But? " inquired Barnabas. 

" As regards the handkerchief now — ? " 

" I found it — on a bramble-bush — in a wood," said 

" In a wood ! " 

" In Annersley Wood ; I found a lady there also." 

"A lady — oh, egad!" 

In Which Fists Are Clenched 87 

" A very beautiful woman," said Barnabas thought- 
fully, " with wonderful yellow hair ! " 

" The Lady Cleone Meredith ! " exclaimed the Viscount, 
" but in a — wood ! " 

" She had fallen from her horse." 

"How? When? Was she hurt? " 

" How, I cannot tell you, but it happened about two 
hours ago, and her hurt was trifling." 

" And you — found her? " 

" I also saw her safely out of the wood." 

" And you did not know her name ? " 

" I quite — forgot to ask it," Barnabas admitted, " and 
I never saw her until this morning." 

" Why, then, my dear Bev," said the Viscount, his brow 
clearing, " let us go back to breakfast, all three of us." 

But, now turning about, they perceived that the 
stranger was gone, yet, coming to the bridge, they pres- 
ently espied him sitting beside the stream laving his hurts 
in the cool water. 

" Sir," said Barnabas, " our thanks are due to you — " 

" And you must come back to the inn with us," added 
the Viscount ; " the ham surpasses description." 

" And I would know what you meant by the ' blood of 
atonement,' " said Barnabas, the persistent. 

" As to breakfast, young sirs," said the stranger, shak- 
ing his head, " I thank you, but I have already assuaged 
my hunger ; as to my story, well, 't is not over long, and 
indeed it is a story to think upon — a warning to heed, 
for it is a story of Self, and Self is the most insidious 
enemy that man possesses. So, if you would listen to 
the tale of a selfish man, sit down here beside me, and 
I '11 tell you." 



" In ancient times, sirs," began the stranger, with his 
gaze upon the hurrying waters of the brook, " when a 
man had committed some great sin he hid himself from 
the world, and lashed himself with cruel stripes, he walked 
barefoot upon sharp flints and afflicted himself with griev- 
ous pains and penalties, glorying in the blood of his atone- 
ment, and wasting himself and his remaining years in 
woeful solitude, seeking, thereby, to reclaim his soul from 
the wrath to come. But, as for me, I walk the highways 
preaching always forgiveness and forgetfulness of self, 
and if men grow angry at my teaching and misuse me, the 
pain of wounds, the hardships, the fatigue, I endure them 
all with a glad and cheerful mind, seeking thereby to work 
out my redemption and atonement, for I was a very 
selfish man." Here the stranger paused, and his face 
seemed more lined and worn, and his white hair whiter, as 
he stared down into the running waters of the brook. 

" Sirs," he continued, speaking with bent head, " I once 
had a daughter, and I loved her dearly, but my name was 
dearer yet. I was proud of her beauty, but prouder of 
my ancient name, for I was a selfish man. 

" We lived in the country, a place remote and quiet, 
and consequently led a very solitary, humdrum life, be- 
cause I was ever fond of books and flowers and the solitude 
of trees — a selfish man always. And so, at last, because 
she was young and high-spirited, she ran away from my 
lonely cottage with one who was a villain. And I grieved 
for her, young sirs, I grieved much and long, because I 

The Stranger's Tale 89 

was lonely, but I grieved more for my name, my honor- 
able name that she had besmirched, because, as I told you, 
I was a selfish man." Again the stranger was silent, 
sitting ever with bent head staring down at the crystal 
waters of the brook, only he clasped his thin hands and 
wrung them as he continued: 

" One evening, as I sat among my roses with a book 
in my hand, she came back to me through the twilight, 
and flung herself upon her knees before me, and besought 
my forgiveness with sobs and bitter, bitter tears. Ah, 
young sirs ! I can hear her weeping yet. The sound of it 
is always in my ears. So she knelt to me in her abasement 
with imploring hands stretched out to me. Ah, the pity 
of those white appealing hands, the pity of them ! But I, 
sirs, being as I say a selfish man and remembering only 
my proud and honorable name, I, her father, spurned her 
from me with reproaches and vile words, such burning, 
searing words as no daughter should hear or father utter. 

" And so, weeping still, she turned away wearily, hope- 
lessly, and I stood to watch her bowed figure till she had 
crept away into the evening and was gone. 

" Thus, sirs, I drove her from me, this wounded lamb, 
this poor broken-hearted maid — bone of my bone, flesh 
of my flesh — I drove her from me, I who should have 
comforted and cherished her, I drove her out into the 
night with hateful words and bitter curses. Oh, was 
ever sin like mine? Oh, Self, Self! In ancient times, sirs, 
when a man had committed some great sin he lashed him- 
self with cruel stripes, but I tell you no rod, no whip 
of many thongs ever stung or bit so sharp and deep as 
remorse — it is an abiding pain. Therefore I walk these 
highways preaching always forgiveness and forgetfulness 
of self, and so needs must I walk until my days be done, 
or until — I find her again." The stranger rose suddenly 
and so stood with bent head and very still, only his hands 
griped and wrung each other. Yet when he looked up 
his brow was serene and a smile was on his lips. 

" B*-it you, sirs, you are friends again, and that is good, 

9<d The Amateur Gentleman 

for friendship is a blessed thing. And you have youth and 
strength, and all things are possible to you, therefore. 
But oh, beware of self, take warning of a selfish man, for- 
get self, so may you achieve great things. 

" But, as for me, I never stand upon a country road 
when evening falls but I see her, a broken, desolate figure, 
creeping away from me, always away from me, into the 
shadows, and the sound of her weeping comes to me in 
the night silences." So saying, the stranger turned from 
them and went upon his way, limping a little because of 
his hurts, and his hair gleamed silver in the sunshine 
as he went. 



' :s A very remarkable man ! " said the Viscount, taking up 
his hat. 

" And a very pitiful story ! " said Barnabas, thought- 


" Though I could wish," pursued the Viscount, dreamy 
of eye, and settling his hat with a light tap on the crown, 
" yes, I do certainly wish that he had n't interfered quite 
so soon, I was just beginning to — ah — enjoy myself." 

" It must be a terrible thing to be haunted by remorse 
so bitter as his, ' to fancy her voice weeping in the night,' 
and to see her creeping on into the shadows always — ■ 
away from him," said Barnabas. 

But now, having helped each other into their coats, 
they set off back to the inn. 

" My ribs," said the Viscount, feeling that region of 
his person with tender solicitude as he spoke, " my ribs 
are infernally sore, Bev, though it was kind of you not 
to mark my face ; I 'm sorry for your lip, my dear fellow, 
but really it was the only opening you gave me; I hope 
it is n't painful? " 

" Indeed I had forgotten it," returned Barnabas. 

" Then needs must I try to forget my bruised ribs," 
said the Viscount, making a wry face as he clambered 
over the stile. 

But here Barnabas paused to turn and look back at 
the scene of their encounter, quite deserted now, for the 
stranger had long since disappeared in the green. 

" Yes, a very remarkable man ! " sighed Barnabas, 

92 The Amateur Gentleman 

thoughtfully. " I wish he had come back with us to the 
inn and — Clemency. Yes, a very strange man. I won- 
der now — " 

" And I beg you to remember," added the Viscount, 
taking him by the arm, " he said that you and I were 
ordained to be friends, and by Gad! I think he spoke 
the truth, Bev." 

" I feel sure of it, Viscount," Barnabas nodded. 

" Furthermore, Bev, if you are 6 Bev ' to me, I must 
be ' Dick ' to you henceforth — amen and so forth ! " 

" Agreed, Dick." 

" Then, my dear Bev? " said the Viscount impulsively. 

"Yes, my dear Dick?" 

" Suppose we shake hands on it? " 

" Willingly, Dick, yet, first, I think it but honorable to 
tell you that I — love the Lady Cleone Meredith." 

" Eh — what? " exclaimed the Viscount, falling back a 
step, " you love her? the devil you do ! since when? " 

" Since this morning." 

" Love her ! " repeated the Viscount, " but you 've seen 
her but once in your life." 

" True," said Barnabas, " but then I mean to see her 
many times, henceforth." 

" Ah ! the deuce you do ! " 

" Yes," answered Barnabas. " I shall possibly marry 
her — some day." 

The Viscount laughed, and frowned, and laughed again, 
then noting the set mouth and chin of the speaker, grew 
thoughtful, and thereafter stood looking at Barnabas with 
a new and suddenly awakened interest. Who was he? 
What was he? From his clothes he might have been any- 
thing between a gentleman farmer and a gamekeeper. 

As for Barnabas himself, as he leaned there against the 
stile with his gaze on the distance, his eyes a-dream, he 
had clean forgotten his awkward clothes and blunt-toed 

And after all, what can boots or clothes matter to man 
or woman? indeed, they sink into insignificance when the 

Barnabas Makes a Confession 93 

face of their wearer is stamped with the serene jet deter- 
mined confidence that marked Barnabas as he spoke. 

" Marry — Cleone Meredith? " said the Viscount at 

" Marry her — } r es," said Barnabas slowly. 

" Why then, in the first place let me tell you she 's 
devilish high and proud." 

" 'T is so I would have her ! " nodded Barnabas. 

" And cursedly hard to please." 

" So I should judge her," nodded Barnabas. 

" And heiress to great wealth." 

" No matter for that," said Barnabas. 

" And full of whims and fancies." 

" And therefore womanly," said Barnabas. 

" My dear Beverley," said the Viscount, smiling again, 
" I tell you the man who wins Cleone Meredith must be 
stronger, handsomer, richer, and more accomplished than 
any ' Buck,' 4 Corinthian,' or ' Macaroni ' of 'em all — " 

" Or more determined ! " added Barnabas. 

" Or more determined, yes," nodded the Viscount. 

" Then I shall certainly marry her — some day," said 

Again the Viscount eyed Barnabas a while in silence, 
but this time, be it noted, he smiled no more. 

" Hum ! " said he at last, " so it seems in finding a 
friend I have also found myself another rival? " 

" I greatly fear so," said Barnabas, and they walked 
on together. 

But when they had gone some distance in moody silence, 
the Viscount spoke: 

" Beverley," said he, " forewarned is forearmed ! " 

" Yes," answered Barnabas, " that is why I told you." 

"Then," said the Viscount, "I think we'll — shake 
hands — after all." 

The which they did forthwith. 

Now it was at this moment that Milo of Crotona took 
it upon himself to become visible. 



Never did a pair* of top boots, big or little, shine with a 
lustre more resplendent; never was postilion's jacket 
more excellent of fit, nattier, or more carefully brushed; 
and nowhere could there be found two rows of crested 
silver buttons with such an air of waggish roguery, so 
sly, so knowing, and so pertinaciously on the everlasting 
wink, as these same eight buttons that adorned the very 
small person of his groomship, Milo of Crotona. He 
had slipped out suddenly from the hedge, and now stood 
cap in hand, staring from the Viscount to Barnabas, and 
back again, with his innocent blue eyes, and with every 
blinking, twinkling button on his jacket. And his eyes 
were wide and guileless — the eyes of a cherub ; but his 
buttons ! 

Yea, forsooth, it was all in his buttons as they winked 
slyly one to another as much as to say: 

" Aha ! we don't know why his Lordship's nankeens 
are greened at the knees, not we ! nor why the gent's 
lower lip is unduly swelled. Lord love your eyes and 
limbs, oh no ! " 

" What, my imp of innocence ! " exclaimed the Vis- 
count. "Where have you sprung from?" 

" 'Edge, m' hid." 

" Ah ! and what might you have been doing in the 
hedge now? " 

" Think'n', m' hid." 

" And what were you thinking? " 

" I were think'n', m' lud, as the tall genelman here is 
a top-sawyer wi' 'is daddies, m' lud, I was." 

Concerning the Buttons of Milo 95 

" Aha! so you 've been watching, eh? " 

"Not watchin' — oh no, m'lud; I just 'appened ter 
notice — that 's all, m' lud." 

" Ha ! " exclaimed the Viscount ; " then I suppose you 
happened to notice me being — knocked down?" 

" No, m' lud; ye see, I shut my eyes — every time." 

" Every time, eh ! " said his Lordship, with his whim- 
sical smile. " Oh Loyalty, thy name is Milo ! But hallo ! " 
he broke off, " I believe you 've been fighting again — ■ 
come here ! " 

" Fightin', m' lud ! What, me? " 

" What 's the matter with your face — it 's all swollen ; 
there, your cheek? " 

" Swellin', m' lud; I don't feel no swellin'." 

" No, no ; the other cheek." 

" Oh, this, m' lud. Oh, 'e done it, 'e did; but I were n't 

"Who did it?" 

" S' Mortimer's friend, 'e done it, 'e did." 

" Sir Mortimer's friend? " 

" Ah, 'im, m' lud." 

" But, how in the world — " 

" Wi' his fist, m' lud." 

"What for?" 

" 'Cos I kicked 'im, I did." 

" You — kicked Sir Mortimer Carnaby's friend ! " ex- 
claimed the Viscount. " What in heaven's name did you 
do that for?" 

" 'Cos you told me to, m' lud, you did." 

" I told you to kick — " 

" Yes, m' lud, you did. You sez to me, last week — 
arter I done up that butcher's boy — you sez to me, 6 don't 
fight 'cept you can't 'elp it,' you sez ; ■ but alius pertect 
the ladies,' you sez, s an if so be as 'e 's too big to reach 
wi' your fists — why, use your boots,' you sez, an' so I 
did, m' lud." 

" So you were protecting a lady, were you, Imp ? " 

" Miss Clemency, mam ; yes, m' lud. She 's been good ter 

96 The Amateur Gentleman 

me, Miss Clemency, mam 'as — an' so when I seen 'im 
strugglin' an' a-tryin' to kiss 'er — when I 'eered 'er cry 
out — I came in f roo de winder, an' I kicked 'im, I did, 
an' then — " 

" Imp," said the Viscount gravely, " you are forgetting 
your aitches! And so Sir Mortimer's friend kissed her, 
did he ? Mind your aitches now ! " 

" Yes, m' lud ; an' when Hi seen the tears hin her 
heyes — " 

" Now you are mixing them, Imp ! — tears in her eyes. 
Well? " 

" Why then I kicked him, m' lud, an' he turned round 
an' give me this 'ere." 

" And what was Sir Mortimer's friend like? " 

" A tall — werry sleepy gentleman, wot smiled, m' lud." 

" Ha ! " exclaimed the Viscount, starting ; " and with 
a scar upon one cheek? " 

" Yes, m' lud." 

His Lordship frowned. " That would be Chichester," 
said he thoughtfully. " Now I wonder what the devil 
should bring that fellow so far from London? " 

" Well, m' lud," suggested Milo, shaking his golden 
curls, " I kind of 'specks there 's a woman at the bot- 
tom of it. There mostly generally is." 

" Hum ! " said the Viscount. 

" 'Sides, m' lud, I 'eard 'im talkin' 'bout a lady to S' 
Mortimer ! " 

" Did they mention her name? " 

" The sleepy one 'e did, m' lud. Jist as S' Mortimer 
climbed into the chaise — ' Here 's wishing you luck wi' 
the lovely Meredyth,' 'e sez." 

" Meredith ! " exclaimed the Viscount. 

" Meredith, m' lud ; ' the lovely Meredith,' 'e sez, an' 
then, as he stood watchin' the chaise drive away, s may 
the best man win,' sez, 'e to himself, * an' that 's me,' 
sez 'e." 

" Boy," said the Viscount, " have the horses put to — 
at once." 

Concerning the Buttons of Milo 97 

" Werry good, m' lud," and, touching his small hat, 
Milo of Crotona turned and set off as fast as his small 
legs would carry him. 

" Gad ! " exclaimed his Lordship, " this is more than I 
bargained for. I must be off." 

" Indeed ! " said Barnabas, who for the last minute 
or so had been watching a man who was strolling 
idly up the lane, a tall, languid gentleman in a jaunty 
hat. " You seem all at once in a mighty hurry to get to 

" London ! " repeated the Viscount, staring blankly. 
"London? Oh, why yes, to be sure, I was going to Lon- 
don ; but — hum — fact of the matter is, I 've changed 
my mind about it, my dear Bev ; I 'm going — back. I 'm 
following Carnaby." 

" Ah ! " said Barnabas, still intent upon the man in the 
lane, " Carnaby again." 

" Oh, damn the fellow ! " exclaimed the Viscount. 

" But — he is your friend." 

" Hum ! " said the Viscount ; " but Carnaby is always — 
Carnaby, and she — " 

" Meaning the Lady Cleone," said Barnabas. 

" Is a woman — " 

" 6 The lovely Meredith '! "nodded Barnabas. 

" Exactly ! " said the Viscount, frowning ; " and Car- 
naby is the devil with women." 

" But not this woman," answered Barnabas, frowning 
a little also. 

" My dear fellow, men like Carnaby attract all 
women — " 

" That," said Barnabas, shaking his head, " that I can- 
not believe." 

" Have you known many women, Bev? " 

" No," answered Barnabas ; " but I have met the Lad^ 
Cleone — " 

" Once ! " added the Viscount significantly. 

" Once ! " nodded Barnabas. 

" Hum," said the Viscount. 

9 8 

The Amateur Gentleman 

" And, therefore," added Barnabas, " I don't think that 
we need fear Sir Mortimer as a rival." 

" That," retorted the Viscount, shaking his head, " is 
because you don't know him — either." 

Hereupon, having come to the inn and having settled 
their score, the Viscount stepped out to the stables accom- 
panied by the round-faced landlord, while Barnabas, lean- 
ing out from the open casement, stared idly into the lane. 
And thus he once more beheld the gentleman in the j aunty 
hat, who stood lounging in the shade of one of the great 
trees that grew before the inn, glancing up and down the 
lane in the attitude of one who waits. He was tall and 
slender, and clad in a tight-fitting blue coat cut in the 
extreme of the prevailing fashion, and beneath his curly- 
brimmed hat, Barnabas saw a sallow face with lips a little 
too heavy, nostrils a little too thin, and eyes a little too 
close together, at least, so Barnabas thought, but what he 
noticed more particularly was the fact that one of the but- 
tons of the blue coat had been wrenched away. 

Now, as the gentleman lounged there against the tree, 
he switched languidly at a bluebell that happened to grow 
within his reach, cut it down, and with gentle, lazy taps 
beat it slowly into nothingness, which done, he drew out his 
watch, glanced at it, frowned, and was in the act of thrust- 
ing it back into his fob when the hedge opposite was parted 
suddenly and a man came through. A wretched being he 
looked, dusty, unkempt, unshorn, whose quick, bright eyes 
gleamed in the thin oval of his pallid face. At sight of this 
man the gentleman's lassitude vanished, and he stepped 
quickly forward. 

" Well," he demanded, " did you find her? " 

" Yes, sir." 

K And a cursed time you 've been about it." 

'* Annersley is further than I thought, sir, and — " 

" Pah ! no matter, give me her answer," and the gentle- 
man held out a slim white hand. 

" She had no time to write, sir," said the man, " but she 
bid me tell you — " 

Concerning the Buttons of Milo 99 

" Damnation ! " exclaimed the gentleman, glancing 
towards the inn, " not here, come further down the lane," 
and with the word he turned and strode away, with the 
man at his heels. 

" Annersley," said Barnabas, as he watched them go ; 
" Annersley." 

But now, with a prodigious clatter of hoofs and grinding 
of wheels, the Viscount drove round in his curricle, and 
drew up before the door in masterly fashion; whereupon 
the two high-mettled bloods immediately began to rear and 
plunge (as is the way of their kind), to snort, to toss their 
sleek heads, and to dance, drumming their hoofs with a 
sound like a brigade of cavalry at the charge, whereupon 
the Viscount immediately fell to swearing at them, and his 
diminutive groom to roaring at them in his " stable voice," 
and the two ostlers to cursing them, and one another; in 
the midst of which hubbub out came Barnabas to stare at 
them with the quick, appraising eye of one who knows and 
loves horses. 

To whom, thusly, the Viscount, speaking both to him and 
the horses : 

" Oh, there you are, Bev — stand still, damn you ! 
There 's blood for you, eh, my dear fellow — devil burn 
your hide ! Jump up, my dear fellow — Gad, they 're pull- 
ing my arms off." 

" Then you want me to come with you, Dick? " 

" My dear Bev, of course I do — stand still, damn 
you — though we are rivals, we 're friends first — curse 
your livers and bones — so jump up, Bev, and — oh 
dammem, there 's no holding 'em — quick, up with you." 

Now, as Barnabas stepped forward, afar off up the lane 
he chanced to espy a certain jaunty hat, and immediately, 
acting for once upon impulse, he shook his head. 

" No, thanks," said he. 

" Eh — no? " repeated the Viscount, " but you shall see 
her, I '11 introduce you myself." 

" Thanks, Dick, but I 've decided not to go back." 

" What, you won't come then ? " 

ioo The Amateur Gentleman 

" No." 

" Ah, well, we shall meet in London. Inquire for me at 
White's or Brooke's, any one will tell you where to find me. 

Then, settling his feet more firmly, he took a fresh grip 
upon the reins, and glanced over his shoulder to where 
Milo of Crotona sat with folded arms in the rumble. 

" All right behind? " 

" Right, m' lud." 

" Then give 'em their heads, let 'em go ! " 

The grooms sprang away, the powerful bays reared, 
once, twice, and then, with a thunder of hoofs, started 
away at a gallop that set the light vehicle rocking and 
swaying, yet which in no whit seemed to trouble Milo of 
Crotona, who sat upon his perch behind with folded arms 
as stiff and steady as a small graven image, until he and 
the Viscount and the curricle had been whirled into the 
distance and vanished in a cloud of dust. 



" Lord, but this is a great day for the old c Cow,' sir," 
said the landlord, as Barnabas yet stood staring down the 
road, " we are n't had so many o' the quality here for 
years. Last night the young Vi-count, this morning, 
bright and early, Sir Mortimer Carnaby and friend, then 
the Vi-count again, along o' you, sir, an' now you an' Sir 
Mortimer's friend; you don't be no ways acquainted wi' 
Sir Mortimer's friend, be you, sir? " 

" No," answered Barnabas, " what is his name? " 

66 Well, Sir Mortimer hailed him as 4 Chichester,' I fancy, 
sir, though I are n't prepared to swear it, no more yet 
to oath it, not 'aving properly ob-served, but ' Chichester,' 
I think it were; and, 'twixt you an' me, sir, he be one o' 
your fine gentlemen as I are n't no wise partial to, an' he 's 
ordered dinner and supper." 

" Has he," said Barnabas, " then I think I '11 do the 

" Ay, ay, sir, very good." 

" In the meantime could you let me have pen, ink and 
paper ? " 

" Ay, sir, surely, in the sanded parlor, this way, sir." 

Forthwith he led Barnabas into a long, low panelled 
room, with a wide fireplace at the further end, beside which 
stood a great high-backed settle with a table before it. 
Then Barnabas sat down and wrote a letter to his father, 
as here follows : — 

" My Dear Father and Natty Bell, — I have read 
somewhere in my books that 4 adventures are to the adven- 

io2 The Amateur Gentleman 

turous,' and, indeed, I have already found this to be true e 
Now, since I am adventuring the great world, I adventure 
lesser things also. 

" Thus I have met and talked with an entertaining ped- 
ler, from whom I have learned that the worst place in 
the world is Giles's Rents down by the River; from him, 
likewise, I purchased a book as to the merits of which I 
begin to entertain doubts. 

" Then I have already thrashed a friend of the Prince 
Regent, and somewhat spoiled a very fine gentleman, and, 
I fear, am like to be necessitated to spoil another before the 
day is much older; from each of whom I learn that a 
Prince's friend may be an arrant knave. 

" Furthermore, I have become acquainted with the son 
of an Earl, and finding him a man also, have formed a 
friendship with him, which I trust may endure. 

" Thus far, you see, much has happened to me ; adven- 
tures have befallen me in rapid succession. ' Wonderful ! ' 
say you. ' Not at all,' say I, since I have found but what 
I sought after, for, as has been said — ' adventures are to 
the adventurous.' Therefore, within the next few hours, 
I confidently expect other, and perchance weightier, hap- 
penings to overtake me because — I intend them to. So 
much for myself. 

" Now, as for you and Natty Bell, it is with deep 
affection that I think of you — an affection that 
shall abide with me always. Also, you are both in my 
thoughts continually. • I remember our bouts with the 
' muffles,' and my wild gallops on unbroken horses 
with Natty Bell ; surely he knows a horse better than any, 
and is a better rider than boxer, if that could well be. 
Indeed, I am fortunate in having studied under two such 

" Furthermore, I pray you to consider that this absence 
of mine will only draw us closer together, in a sense. In- 
deed, now, when I think of you both, I am half-minded to 
give up this project and come back to you. But my destiny 
commands me, and destiny must be obeyed. Therefore I 

The Gentleman in Jaunty Hat 103 

shall persist unto the end; but whether I succeed or no, 
remember, I pray of you, that I am always, 

" Your lover and friend, 

" Baenabas." 

" P.S. — Regarding the friend of the Prince Regent, 
I could wish now that I had struck a little harder, and 
shall do so next time, should the opportunity be given. 

" B." 

Having finished this letter, in which it will be seen he 
made no mention of the Lady Cleone, though his mind was 
yet full of her, having finished his letter I say, Barnabas 
sanded it, folded it, affixed wafers, and had taken up his 
pen to write the superscription, when he was arrested by 
a man's voice speaking in a lazy drawl, just outside the 
open lattice behind him. 

" Now 'pon my soul and honor, Beatrix — so much 
offended virtue for a stolen kiss — begad ! you were prodi- 
gal of 'em once — " 

" How dare you ! Oh, coward that you are ! " exclaimed 
another voice, low and repressed, yet vibrant with bitter 
scorn ; " you know that I found you out — in time, thank 

" Beatrix? " said Barnabas to himself. 

" In time ; ah ! and pray who 'd believe it? You ran away 
from me — but you ran away with me — first ! In time ? 
Did your father believe it, that virtuous old miser? would 
any one, who saw us together, believe it? No, Beatrix, I 
tell you all the world knows you for my — " 

" Stop ! " A moment's silence and then came a soft, 
gently amused laugh. 

" Lord, Beatrix, how handsome you are ! — handsomer 
than ever, begad ! I 'm doubly fortunate to have found 
you again. Six years is a long time, but they 've only 
matured you — ripened you. Yes, you 're handsomer than 
ever ; upon my life and soul you are ! " 

But here came the sudden rush of flying draperies, the 

104 The Amateur Gentleman 

sound of swift, light footsteps, and Barnabas was aware 
of the door behind him being opened, closed and bolted, 
and thereafter, the repressed sound of a woman's pas- 
sionate weeping. Therefore he rose up from the settle, and 
glancing over its high back, beheld Clemency. 

Almost in the same moment she saw him, and started 
back to the wall, glanced from Barnabas to the open lat- 
tice, and covered her face with her hands. And now not 
knowing what to do, Barnabas crossed to the window and, 
being there, looked out, and thus espied again the languid 
gentleman, strolling up the lane, with his beaver hat cocked 
at the same jaunty angle, and swinging his betasselled stick 
as he went. 

" You — you heard, then ! " said Clemency, almost in 
a whisper. 

" Yes," answered Barnabas, without turning ; " but, 
being a great rascal he probably lied." 

"No, it is — quite true — I did run away with him; 
but oh ! indeed, indeed I left him again before — 
before — " 

" Yes, yes," said Barnabas, a little hurriedly, aware 
that her face was still hidden in her hands, though he kept 
his eyes studiously averted. Then all at once she was be- 
side him, her hands were upon his arm, pleading, compel- 
ling ; and thus she forced him to look at her, and, though 
her cheeks yet burned, her eyes met his, frank and 

" Sir," said she, " you do believe that I — that I found 
him out in time — that I — escaped his vileness — you 
must believe — you shall ! " and her slender fingers tight- 
ened on his arm. " Oh, tell me — tell me, you believe ! " 

" Yes," said Barnabas, looking down into the troubled 
depths of her eyes ; " yes, I do believe." 

The compelling hands dropped from his arm, and she 
stood before him, staring out blindly into the glory of the 
morning; and Barnabas could not but see how the tears 
glistened under her lashes ; also he noticed how her brown, 
shapely hands griped and wrung each other. 

The Gentleman in Jaunty Hat 105 

" Sir," said she suddenly ; " you are a friend of — 
Viscount Devenham." 

" I count myself so fortunate." 

" And — therefore — a gentleman." 

" Indeed, it is my earnest wish." 

" Then you will promise me that, should you ever hear 
anything spoken to the dishonor of Beatrice Darville, you 
will deny it." 

" Yes," said Barnabas, smiling a little grimly, " though 
I think I should do — more than that." 

Now when he said this, Clemency looked up at him sud- 
denly, and in her eyes there was a glow no tears could 
quench; her lips quivered but no words came, and then, 
all at once, she caught his hand, kissed it, and so was gone, 
swift and light, and shy as any bird. 

And, in a while, happening to spy his letter on the table, 
Barnabas sat down and wrote out the superscription with 
many careful flourishes, which done, observing his hat near 
by, he took it up, brushed it absently, put it on, and went 
out into the sunshine. 

Yet when he had gone but a very little way, he paused, 
and seeing he still carried the letter in his hand, thrust it 
into his breast, and so remained staring thoughtfully 
towards that spot, green and shady with trees, where he 
and the Viscount had talked with the Apostle of Peace. 
And with his gaze bent thitherwards he uttered a name, 
and the name was — 

" Beatrix." 



Barnabas walked on along the lane, head on breast, 
plunged in a profound reverie, and following a haphazard 
course, so much so that, chancing presently to look about 
him, he found that the lane had narrowed into a rough cart 
track that wound away between high banks gay with wild 
flowers, and crowned with hedges, a pleasant, shady spot, 
indeed, as any thoughtful man could wish for. 

Now as he walked, he noticed a dry ditch — a grassy, 
and most inviting ditch ; therefore Barnabas sat him down 
therein, leaning his back against the bank. 

" Beatrix ! " said he, again, and thrusting his hands into 
his pockets he became aware of the " priceless wollum." 
Taking it out, he began turning its pages, idly enough, and 
eventually paused at one headed thus : 

" The Cuet of Dress." 

Bu f , he had not read a dozen words when he was aware 
of a rustling of leaves, near by, that was not of the wind, 
and then the panting of breath drawn in painful gasps ; 
and, therefore, having duly marked his place with a finger, 
he raised his head and glanced about him. As he did so, 
the hedge, almost opposite, was burst asunder and a man 
came slipping down the bank, and, regaining his feet, stood 
staring at Barnabas and panting. A dusty, bedraggled 
wretch he looked, unshaven and unkempt, with quick, bright 
eyes that gleamed in the pale oval of his face. 
" What do you want? " Barnabas demanded. 

Barnabas Engages a Valet 107 

" Everything ! " the man panted, with the ghost of a 
smile on his pallid lips ; " but — the ditch would do." 

" And why the ditch? " 

" Because they 're — after me." 

"Who are?" 

" Gamekeepers ! " 

" Then, you 're a poacher ? " 

" And a very clumsy one — they had me once — close on 
me now." 

" How many? " 

" Two." 

" Then — hum ! — get into the ditch," said Barnabas. 

Now the ditch, as has been said, was deep and dry, and 
next moment, the miserable fugitive was hidden from view 
by reason of this, and of the grasses and wild flowers that 
grew luxuriantly there ; seeing which, Barnabas went back 
to his reading. 

" It is permitted," solemnly writes the Person of Quality, 
" that white waistcoats be worn, — though sparingly, for 
caution is always advisable, and a buff waistcoat therefore 
is recommended as safer. Coats, on the contrary, may 
occasionally vary both as to the height of the collar, which 
must, of course, roll, and the number of buttons — " 

Thus far the Person of Quality when : 

" Hallo, theer ! " roared a stentorian voice. 

" Breeches, on the other hand," continues the Person of 
Quality gravely, " are governed as inexorably as the Medes 
and Persians ; thus, for mornings they must be either pan- 
taloons and Hessians — " 

" Hallo theer ! oho ! — hi ! — waken oop will 'ee ! " 

" Or buckskins and top boots — " 

" Hi ! " roared the voice, louder than ever, " you theer 
under th' 'edge, — oho ! " 

Once more Barnabas marked the place with his finger, 
and glancing up, straightway espied Stentor, somewhat red- 
faced, as was but natural, clad in a velveteen jacket and 
with a long barrelled gun on his shoulder. 

" Might you be shouting at me? " inquired Barnabas- 

ic8 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Well," replied Stentor, looking up and down the lane, 
" I don't see nobody else to shout at, so let 's s'pose as 
I be shouting at ye, bean't deaf, be ye? " 

" No, thank God." 

" 'Cause if so be as y' are deaf, a can shout a tidy bit 
louder nor that a reckon." 

" I can hear you very well as it is." 

" Don't go for to be too sartin, now ; ye see I 've got a 
tidy voice, I have, which I are n't noways afeared o' usin' ! " 

" So it would appear ! " nodded Barnabas. 

" You 're quite sure as ye can 'ear me, then? " 

" Quite." 

" Werry good then, if you are sure as you can 'ear me 
I 'd like to ax 'ee a question, though, mark me, I '11 shout 
it, ah ! an' willin' ; if so be you 're minded, say the word ! " 

But, before Barnabas could reply, another man ap- 
peared, being also clad in velveteens and carrying a long 
barrelled gun. 

"Wot be doin', Jarge? " he inquired of Stentor, in a 
surly tone, " wot be wastin' time for? " 

" W'y, lookee, I be about to ax this 'ere deaf chap a 
question, though ready, ah! an' willin' to shout it, if so 
be 'e gives the word." 

" Stow yer gab, Jarge," retorted Surly, more surly than 
ever, " you be a sight too fond o' usin' that theer voice 
o' your'n ! " saying which he turned to Barnabas : 

" Did ye see ever a desprit, poachin' wagabone run down 
this 'ere lane, sir? " he inquired. 

" No," answered Barnabas. 

" Well, did ye see ever a thievin' wastrel run oop this 
'ere lane? " demanded Stentor. 

" No," answered Barnabas. 

" But we seen 'im run this way," demurred Surly. 

" Ah ! — he must ha' run oop or down this 'ere lane," 
said Stentor. 

" He did neither," said Barnabas. 

" Why, then p'r'aps you be stone blind as well as stone 
deaf? " suggested Stentor. 

Barnabas Engages a Valet 109 

" Neither one nor the other," answered Barnabas, " and 
now, since I have answered all your questions, suppose you 
go and look somewhere else?" 

" Look, is it? — look wheer — d' ye mean — ? " 

" I mean — go." 

" Go ! " repeated Stentor, round of eye, " then s'pose 
you tell us — wheer ! " 

" Anywhere you like, only — be off ! " 

" Now you can claw me ! " exclaimed Stentor with an 
injured air, nodding to his gun, seeing his companion had 
already hurried off, " you can grab and duck me if this 
don't beat all ! — you can burn an' blister me if ever I met 
a deaf cove as was so ongrateful as this 'ere deaf cove, — 
me 'avin' used this yer v'ice o' mine for 'is be'oof an' like- 
wise benefit; v'ices like mine is a gift as was bestowed for 
deaf 'uns like 'im ; — I 've met deaf 'uns afore, yes, — 
but such a ongrateful deaf 'un as 'im, — no. All I 'opes is 
as 'e gets deafer an' deafer, as deaf as a stock, as a stone, 
as a — dead sow, — that 's all I 'opes ! " 

Having said which, Stentor nodded to his gun again, 
glanced at Barnabas again, and strode off, muttering, 
after his companion. 

Hereupon Barnabas once more opened his book; yet 
he was quite aware that the fugitive had thrust his head 
out of the ditch, and having glanced swiftly about, was 
now regarding him out of the corners of his eyes. 

" Why do you stare at me ? " he demanded suddenly. 

" I was wondering why you took the trouble and risk 
of shielding such a thing as I am," answered the fugitive. 

" Hum ! " said Barnabas, " upon my soul, — I don't 

" No," said the man, with the ghostly smile upon his 
lips again, " I thought not." 

Now, as he looked at the man, Barnabas saw that his 
cheeks, beneath their stubble, were hollow and pinched, 
as though by the cruel hands of want and suffering. And 
yet in despite of all this and of the grizzled hair at his 
temples, the face was not old, moreover there was a merry 

no The Amateur Gentleman 

twinkle in the eye, and a humorous curve to the wide- 
lipped mouth that appealed to Barnabas. 

" And you are a poacher, you say? " 

" Yes, sir, and that is bad, I confess, but, what is worse, 
I was, until I took to poaching, an honest man without a 
shred of character." 

"How so?". 

" I was discharged — under a cloud that was never 

" To be sure, you don't look like an ordinary poacher." 

" That is because I am an extraordinary one." 

"You mean?" 

" That I poach that I may live to — poach again, sir. 
I am, at once, a necessitous poacher, and a poacher by 

" And what by choice? " 

" A gentleman, sir, with plenty of money and no 

" Why deny ambition ? " 

" Because I would live a quiet life, and who ever heard 
of an ambitious man ever being quiet, much less happy 
and contented? " 

" Hum ! " said Barnabas, " and what were you by 
profession? " 

" My calling, sir, was to work for, think for, and shoul- 
der the blame for others — generally fools, sir. I was a 
confidential servant, a valet, sir. And I have worked, 
thought, and taken the blame for others so very success- 
fully, that I must needs take to poaching that I may 

" But — other men may require valets ! " 

" True, sir, and there are plenty of valets to be had — 
of a sort; but the most accomplished one in the world, 
if without a character, had better go and hang himself 
out of the way, and have done with it. And indeed, I 
have seriously contemplated so doing." 

" You rate yourself very highly." 

" And I go in rags ! Though a professed thief may do 

Barnabas Engages a Valet 1 1 1 

well in the world, though the blackest rascal, the slyest 
rogue, may thrive and prosper, the greatest of valets being 
without a character, may go in rags and starve — and 
very probably will." 

" Hum ! " said Barnabas. 

" Now, to starve, sir, is unpleasant ; thus I, having a 
foolish, though very natural, dread of it, poach rabbits 
that I may exist. I possess also an inborn horror of rags 
and dirt, therefore I — exchanged this coat and breeches 
from a farmhouse, the folk being all away in the fields, 
and though they are awkward, badly-made garments, still 
beggars — and — " 

" Thieves ! " added Barnabas. 

" And thieves, sir, cannot always be choosers, can 
they? " 

" Then you admit you are a thief? " 

Here the fugitive glanced at Barnabas with a wry 

" Sir, I fear I must. Exchange is no robbery they 
say; but my rags were so very ragged, and these garments 
are at least wearable." 

66 You have also been a — great valet, I understand? " 

" And have served many gentlemen in my time." 

" Then you probably know London and the fashionable 

" Yes, sir," said the man, with a sigh. 

" Now," pursued Barnabas, " I am given to understand, 
on the authority of a Person of Quality, that to dress 
properly is an art." 

The fugitive nodded. " Indeed, sir, though your Per- 
son of Quality should rather have called it the greatest of 
all the arts." 

"Why so?" 

" Because by dress it is possible to make — something 
out of nothing ! " 

" Explain yourself." 

" Why, there was the case of young Lord Ambleside, a 
nobleman remarkable for a vague stare, and seldom say- 

112 The Amateur Gentleman 

ing anything but ' What !' or ' Dey-vil take me ! ' though 
I '11 admit he could curse almost coherently — at times. 
I found him nothing but a lord, and very crude material 
at that, yet in less than six months he was made." 


" Made, sir," nodded the fugitive. " I began him with 
a cravat, an entirely original creation, which drew the 
approval of Brummell himself, and, consequently, took 
London by storm, and I continued him with a waistcoat." 

" Not a — white one? " Barnabas inquired. 

" No, sir, it was a delicate pink, embroidered with gold, 
and of quite a new cut and design, which was the means 
of introducing him to the notice of Royalty itself. The 
Prince had one copied from it, and wore it at a state 
reception. And I finished him with a pair of pantaloons 
which swept the world of fashion clean off its legs, and 
brought him into lasting favor with the Regent. So my 
Lord was made, and eventually I married him to an 

" You married him? " 

" That is to say, I dictated all his letters, and composed 
all his verses, which speedily brought the affair to a happy 

" You seem to be a man of many and varied gifts ? " 

" And one — without a character, sir." 

" Nevertheless," said Barnabas, " I think you are the 
very man I require." 

" Sir," exclaimed the fugitive, staring, " sir? " 

" And therefore," continued Barnabas, " you may con- 
sider yourself engaged." 

" Engaged, sir — engaged ! " stammered the man — 

" As my valet," nodded Barnabas. 

" But, sir, I told you — I was — a thief ! " 

" Yes," said Barnabas, " and therefore I have great 
hopes of your future honesty." 

Now hereupon the man, still staring, rose up to his 
knees, and with a swift, appealing gesture, stretched out 

Barnabas Engages a Valet 113 

his hands towards Barnabas, and his hands were trembling 
all at once. 

" Sir ! " said he, " oh, sir — d' ye mean it? You don't 
know, you can't know what such an offer means to me. 
Sir, you 're not jesting with me? " 

" No," answered Barnabas, calmly serious of eye, " no, 
I 'm not jesting; and to prove it, here is an advance of 
wages." And he dropped two guineas into the man's 
open palm. 

The man stared down at the coins in his hand, then 
rose abruptly to his feet and turned away, and when he 
spoke again his voice was hoarse. 

" Sir," said he, jerkily, " for such trust I would thank 
you, only words are too poor. But if, as I think, it is 
your desire to enter the World of Fashion, it becomes my 
duty, as an honest man, to tell you that all your efforts, 
all your money, would be unavailing, even though you had 
been introduced by Barrymore, or Hanger, or Vibart, or 
Brummell himself." 

" Ah," said Barnabas, " and why? " 

" Because you have made a fatal beginning." 

" How? " 

" By knocking down the Prince's friend and favorite — 
Sir Mortimer Carnaby." 



For a long moment the two remained silent, each staring 
at the other, Barnabas still seated in the ditch and the 
man standing before him, with the coins clutched in his 

" Ah ! " said Barnabas, at last, " then you were in the 

" I lay hidden behind a bush, and watched you do it, 

" And what were you doing in Annersley Wood? " 

" I bore a message, sir, for the lady." 

" Ah ! " said Barnabas, " the lady — yes." 

" Who lay watching you, also." 

" No," said Barnabas, " the lady was unconscious." 

" Yet recovered sufficiently to adj ust her habit, and to 
watch you knock him down." 

" Hum ! " said Barnabas, and was silent a while. " Have 
you heard such a name as Chichester? " he inquired 

" No, sir." 

" And did you deliver the letter? " 

" I did, sir." 

" And she — sent back an answer? " 

" Yes, sir." 

" The gentleman who sent the letter was tall and slen- 
der, I think, with dark hair, and a scar on his cheek? " 

" Yes, sir." 

" And when you came back with her answer, he met you 

Barnabas Parts with his Book 115 

down the lane yonder, and I heard you say that the lady 
had no time to write." 

" Yes, sir ; but she promised to meet him at a place 
called Oakshott's Barn." 

" Ah ! " said Barnabas, " I think I know it." 

" At sunset, sir! " 

" That would be somewhere about half past seven," 
mused Barnabas, staring blankly, down at the book on his 

" Yes, sir." 

" How came you to be carrying his letter? " 

" He offered me five shillings to go and bring her 

" Did you know the lady? " 

" No, sir, but he described her." 

" To be sure," said Barnabas ; " he mentioned her hair, 
perhaps ? " 

" Yes, sir." 

" Her — eyelashes, perhaps? " 

" And her eyes also, sir." 

" Yes, her eyes, of course. He seemed to know her 
well, perhaps ? " 

" Yes, sir." 

" And she — promised to meet him — in a very lonely 
place ? " 

" At Oakshott's Barn, sir." 

Once again Barnabas stared down at his book, and 
was silent so long that his new servant wondered, grew 
fidgety, coughed, and at last spoke. 

" Sir," said he, " what are your orders? " 

Barnabas started and looked up. 

" Orders ? " he repeated ; " why, first of all, get some- 
thing to eat, then find yourself a barber, and wait for me 
at < The Spotted Cow.' " 

' Yes, sir." The man bowed, turned away, took three 
or four steps, and came back again. 

" Sir," said he, " I have two guineas of yours, and you 
have never even asked my name." 

n6 The Amateur Gentleman 

" True," said Barnabas. 

" Supposing I go, and never come back? " 

" Then I shall be two guineas the poorer, and you will 
have proved yourself a thief; but until you do, you are 
an honest man, so far as I am concerned." 

" Sir, said the fugitive, hoarsely, but with a new light 
in his face, " for that, if I were not your servant — I — 
should like to — clasp your hand ; and, sir, my name is 
John Peterby." 

" Why, then," said Barnabas, smiling all at once, " why 
then, John Peterby, here it is ! " 

So, for a moment their hands met, and then John 
Peterby turned sharp about and strode away down the 
lane, his step grown light and his head held high. 

But as for Barnabas, he sat there in the ditch, staring 
at nothing; and as he stared his brow grew black and 
ever blacker, until chancing at last to espy the " priceless 
wollum," where it lay beside him, he took it up, balanced 
it in his hand, then hurled it over the opposite hedge: 
which done, he laughed sudden and harsh, and clenched his 

" God ! " he exclaimed, " a goddess and a satyr ! " and 
so sat staring on at nothingness again. 



The sun was getting low, as Barnabas parted the bram- 
bles, and looking about him, frowned. He stood in a 
grassy glade or clearing, a green oasis hemmed in on every 
side with bushes. Before him was Oakshott's Barn, an 
ancient structure, its rotting thatch dishevelled, its doors 
gone long since, its aged walls cracked and scarred by 
years, a very monument of desolation ; upon its threshold 
weeds had sprung up, and within its hoary shadow 
breathed an air damp, heavy, and acrid with decay. 

It was indeed a place of solitude full of the " hush " 
of leaves, shut out from the world, close hidden from 
observation, a place apt for the meetings of lovers. And, 
therefore, leaning in the shadow of the yawning doorway, 
Barnabas frowned. 

Evening was falling, and from shadowy wood, from 
dewy grass and flower, stole wafts of perfume, while from 
some thicket near by a blackbird filled the air with the 
rich note of his languorous song; but Barnabas frowned 
only the blacker, and his hand clenched itself on the stick 
he carried, a heavy stick, that he had cut from the hedge 
as he came. 

All at once the blackbird's song was hushed, and gave 
place to a rustle of leaves that drew nearer and nearer; 
yet Barnabas never moved, not even when the bushes were 
pushed aside and & man stepped into the clearing — a 
tall, elegant figure, who having paused to glance sharply 
about him, strolled on again towards the barn, swinging 
his tasselled walking cane, and humming softly to him- 

ii 8 The Amateur Gentleman 

self as he came. He was within a yard of Barnabas when 
he saw him, and stopped dead. 

"Ah!" he exclaimed, softly; and thereafter the two 
eyed each other in an ominous silence. 

" And who the devil are you ? " he inquired at length, 
his eyes still intent. 

" Sir," said Barnabas, yet leaning in the doorway — 
" your name I think, is Chichester? " 


" Permit me to return your coat button ! " and Barna- 
bas held out the article in question, but Mr. Chichester 
never so much as glanced at it. 

" What do you want here? " he demanded, soft of voice. 

" To tell you that this dismal place is called Oakshott's 
Barn, sir." 


" To warn you that Oakshott's Barn is an unhealthy 
place — for your sort, sir." 

" Ha ! " said Mr. Chichester, his heavy-lidded eyes un- 
winking, " do you threaten? " 

" Let us rather say — I warn ! " 

" So you do threaten ! " 

" I warn! " repeated Barnabas. 

" To the devil with you and your warning ! " All this 
time neither of them had moved or raised his voice, only 
Mr. Chichester's thin, curving nostrils began to twitch 
all at once, while his eyes gleamed beneath their narrowed 
lids. But now Barnabas stepped clear of the doorway, 
ihe heavy stick swinging in his hand. 

" Then, sir," said he, " let me advise. Let me advise 
you to hurry from this solitude." 

Mr. Chichester laughed — a low, rippling laugh. 

" Ah ! " said he, " ah, so that 's it ! " 

" Yes," nodded Barnabas, shifting his gaze to Mr. 
Chichester's right hand, a white beringed hand, whose 
long, slender- fingers toyed with the seals that dangled 
at his fob, " so pray take up your button and go ! " 

Mr. Chichester glanced at the heavy stick; at the 

Barnabas at Oakshott's Barn 119 

powerful hand, the broad shoulders and resolute face of 
him who held it, and laughed again, and, laughing, bowed. 

" Your solicitude for my health — touches me, sir, — 
touches me, my thanks are due to you, for my health is 
paramount. I owe you a debt which I shall hope to repay. 
This place, as you say, is dismal. I wish you good even- 
ing!" saying which, Mr. Chichester turned away. But 
in that same instant, swift and lithe as a panther, Barnabas 
leapt, and dropping his stick, caught that slender, jew- 
elled hand, bent it, twisted it, and wrenched the weapon 
from its grasp. Mr. Chichester stood motionless, white- 
lipped and silent, but a devil looked out of his eyes. 

" Ah ! " said Barnabas, glancing down at the pistol he 
held, " I j udged you would not venture into these wilds 
without something of the sort. The path, you will notice, 
lies to your left; it is a winding path, I will go with you 
therefore, to see that you do not lose your way, and 
wander — back here again." 

Without a word Mr. Chichester turned, and coming 
to the path followed it, walking neither fast nor slow, 
never once looking to where Barnabas strode behind, and 
heedless of briar or bramble that dragged at him as he 
passed. On they went, until the path lost itself in a 
grassy lane, until the lane ended in a five-barred gate. 
Now, having opened the gate, Mr. Chichester passed 
through into the high road, and then, for one moment 
he looked at Barnabas, a long, burning look that took in 
face, form and feature, and so, still without uttering a 
word, he went upon his way, walking neither fast nor 
slow, and swinging his tasselled cane as he went, while 
Barnabas, leaning upon the gate, watched him until his 
tall, slender figure had merged into the dusk, and was 

Then Barnabas sighed, and becoming aware of the 
pistol in his hand, smiled contemptuously, and was greatly 
minded to throw it away, but slipped it into his pocket 
instead, for he remembered the devil in the eyes of Mr. 



It was dark among the trees, but, away to his left, though 
as yet low down, the moon was rising, filling the woods 
with mystery, a radiant glow wherein objects seemed to 
start forth with a new significance; here the ragged bole 
of a tree, gnarled, misshapen ; there a wide-flung branch, 
weirdly contorted, and there again a tangle of twigs and 
strange, leafy shapes that moved not. And over all was 
a deep and brooding quietude. 

Yes, it was dark among the trees, yet not so black as 
the frown that clouded the face of Barnabas as he strode 
on through the wood, and so betimes reached again the 
ancient barn of Oakshott. And lo ! even as he came there, 
it was night, and because the trees grew tall and close 
together, the shadows lay thicker than ever save only in 
one place where the moon, finding some rift among the 
leaves, sent down a shaft of silvery light that made a pool 
of radiance amid the gloom. Now, as Barnabas gazed 
at this, he stopped all at once, for, just within this patch 
of light, he saw a foot. It was a small foot, proudly 
arched, a shapely foot and slender, like the ankle above; 
indeed, a haughty and most impatient foot, that beat 
the ground with angry little taps, and yet, in all and every 
sense, surely, and beyond a doubt, the most alluring foot 
in the world. Therefore Barnabas sighed and came a step 
nearer, and in that moment it vanished ; therefore Barna- 
bas stood still again. There followed a moment's silence, 
and then: 

Barnabas Meets Cleone Again 121 

" Dear," said a low, thrilling voice, " have you come — ■ 
at last? Ah ! but you are late, I began to fear — " The 
soft voice faltered and broke off with a little gasp, and., 
as Barnabas stepped out of the shadows, she shrank away,, 
back and back, to the mossy wall of the barn, and leaned 
there staring up at him with eyes wide and fearful. Her 
hood, close drawn, served but to enhance the proud beauty 
of her face, pale under the moon, and her cloak, caught 
close in one white hand, fell about her ripe loveliness in 
subtly revealing folds. Now in her other hand she carried 
a silver-mounted riding- whip. And because of the wonder 
of her beauty, Barnabas sighed again, and because of 
the place wherein they stood, he frowned; yet, when he 
spoke, his voice was gentle : 

" Don't be afraid, madam, he is gone." 

" Gone ! " she echoed, faintly. 

" Yes, we are quite alone ; consequently you have no 
more reason to be afraid." 

" Afraid, sir ? I thought — why, 't was you wha 
startled me." 

" Ay," nodded Barnabas, " you expected — him ! " 

" Where is he ? When did he go ? " 

" Some half-hour since." 

" Yet he expected me ; he knew I should come ; why 
did he go ? " 

Now hereupon Barnabas lifted a hand to his throat* 
and loosened his neckcloth. 

" Why then," said he slowly, " you have — perhaps — 
met him hereabouts — before to-night? " 

" Sir," she retorted, " you have n't answered me ; why 
did he go so soon? " 

" He was — forced to, madam." 

" Forced to go, — without seeing me, — without one 
word ! Oh, impossible ! " 

" I walked with him to the cross-roads, and saw him 
out of sight." 

" But I — I came as soon as I could ! Ah ! surely he 
gave you some message — some word for me? " 

122 The Amateur Gentleman 

" None, madam ! " said Barnabas evenly, but his hand 
had clenched itself suddenly on the stick he held. 

" But I — don't understand ! " she sighed, with a help- 
less gesture of her white hands, " to hurry away like this, 
without a word ! Oh, why — why did he go? " 

" Madam," said Barnabas, " it was because I asked 
him to." 

« You — asked him to? " 

" I did." 

"But why — why?" 

"Because, from what little I know of him, I judged 
It best." 

" Sir," she said, softly, " sir — what do you mean? " 

" I mean, that this is such a very lonely place for any 
woman and — such as he." 

Now even as Barnabas uttered the words she advanced 
upon him with upflung head and eyes aflame with sudden 
passionate scorn. 

" Insolent," she exclaimed. " So it was you — you 
actually dared to interfere? " 

" Madam," said Barnabas, " I did." 

Very straight and proud she stood, and motionless 
save for the pant and tumult of her bosom, fierce-eyed 
and contemptuous of lip. 

" And remained to insult me — with impunity." 

" To take you home again," said Barnabas, " there- 
fore pray let us begone." 

" Us ? Sir, you grow presumptuous." 

" As you will," said Barnabas, " only let us go." 

" With you ? " she exclaimed. 

" With me." 

" No — not a step, sir. When I choose to go, I go 

" But to-night," said Barnabas, gentle of voice but 
resolute of eye, " to-night — I go with you." 

" You ! " she cried, " a man I have seen but once, a 
man who may be anything, a — a thief, a ploughman, 
a runaway groom for aught I know." Now, watching 

Barnabas Meets Cleone Again 123 

him beneath disdainful drooping lashes, she saw Barnabas 
flinch at this, and the curve of her scornful lips grew 
more bitter. 

" And now I 'm going — alone. Stand aside, and let 
me pass." 

" No, madam." 

" Let me pass, I warn you ! " 

For a minute they fronted each other, eye to eye, very 
silent and still, like two antagonists that measure each 
other's strength; then Barnabas smiled and shook his 
head. And in that very instant, quick and passionate, 
she raised her whip and struck him across the cheek. 
Then, as she stood panting, half fearful of what she had 
done, Barnabas reached out and took the whip, and 
snapped it between his hands. 

" And now," said he, tossing aside the broken pieces, 
" pray let us go." 

" No." 

" Why, then," sighed Barnabas, " I must carry you 

Once more she shrank away from him, back and back 
to the crumbling wall, and leaned there. But now because 
of his passionless strength, she fell a-trembling and, be- 
cause of his calmly resolute eyes and grimly smiling mouth, 
fear came upon her, and therefore, because she could not 
fly him, because she knew herself helpless against him, she 
suddenly covered her face from his eyes, and a great sob 
burst from her. 

Barnabas stopped, and looking at her bowed head and 
shrinking figure, knew not what to do. And as he stood 
there within a yard of her, debating within himself, upon 
the quiet broke a sudden sound — a small, sharp sound, 
yet full of infinite significance — the snapping of a dry 
twig among the shadows ; a sound that made the en- 
suing silence but the more profound, a breathless quietude 
which, as moment after moment dragged by, grew full of 
deadly omen. And now, even as Barnabas turned to front 
these menacing shadows, the moon went out. 



Upon the quiet stole a rustle of leaves, a whisper that 
came and went, intermittently, that grew louder and 
louder, and so was gone again; but in place of this was 
another sound, a musical jingle like the chime of fairy 
bells, very far, and faint, and sweet. All at once Barnabas 
knew that his companion's fear of him was gone, swal- 
lowed up — forgotten in terror of the unknown. He 
heard a slow-drawn, quivering sigh, and then, pale in the 
dimness, her hand came out to him, crept down his arm, 
and finding his hand, hid itself in his warm clasp ; and her 
hand was marvellous cold, and her fingers stirred and 
trembled in his. 

Came again a rustling in the leaves, but louder now, 
and drawing nearer and nearer, and ever the fairy chime 
swelled upon the air. And even as it came Barnabas felt 
her closer, until her shoulder touched his, until the fra- 
grance of her breath fanned his cheek, until the warmth oi: 
her soft body thrilled through him, until, loud and sudden 
in the silence, a voice rose — a rich, deep voice : 

" ' Now is the witching hour when graveyards yawn ' — 
the witching hour — aha ! — Oh ! poor pale ghost, I know 
thee — by thy night-black hair and sad, sweet eyes — I 
loiow thee. Alas, so young and dead — while I, alas, so 
old and much alive ! Yet I, too, must die some day — 
soon, soon, beloved shadow. Then shall my shade en- 
compass thine and float up with thee into the infinite. 
But now, aha! now is the witching hour! Oh! shades 
and phantoms, I summon thee, fairies, pixies, ghosts and 
goblins, come forth, and I will sing you and d&^ce you. 


" Let me pass, I warn you ! " For a minute they 
fronted each other, eye to eye 

Page 123 


fAM U' 



The Prophecy of Billy Button 125 

'T is a rare song, mine — and well liked by the quality, 
— you Ve heard it before, perchance — ay, ay for you, 
being dead, hear and see all things, oh, Wise Ones ! Come, 
press round me, so. Now, hearkee, ' Oysters ! oysters ! 
and away we go.' 

" ' Many a knight and lady fair 

My oysters fine would try, 
They are the finest oysters, sir, 

That ever you did buy. 
Oysters! who '11 buy my oysters, oh! ' " 

The bushes rustled again, and into the dimness leapt 
a tall, dark figure that sang in a rich, sweet voice, and 
capered among the shadows with a fantastic dancing step, 
then grew suddenly .silent and still. And in that moment 
the moon shone out again, shone down upon a strange, 
wild creature, bareheaded and bare of foot. A very tall 
man he was, with curling gray hair that hung low upon 
his shoulders, and upon his coat were countless buttons 
of all makes and kinds that winked and glittered in the 
moonlight, and jingled faintly as he moved. For a mo- 
ment he stood motionless and staring, then, laying one 
hand to the gleaming buttons on his bosom, bowed with 
an easy, courtly grace. 

"Who are you? " demanded Barnabas. 

" Billy, sir, poor Billy — Sir William, perhaps — but, 
mum for that; the moon knows, but cannot tell, then 
why should I? " 

" And what do you want — here? " 

" To sing, sir, for you and the lady, if you will. I sing 
for high folk and low folk. I have many songs, old and 
new, grave and gay, but folk generally ask for my Oyster 
Song. I sing for rich and poor, for the sad and for the 
merry. I sing at country fairs sometimes, and sometimes 
to trees in lonely places — trees are excellent listeners 
always. But to-night I sing for — Them." 

" And who are they? " 

" The Wise Ones, who, being dead, know all things, 

126 The Amateur Gentleman 

and live on for ever. Ah, but they 're kind to poor Billy, 
and though they have no buttons to give him, yet they 
tell him things sometimes. Aha ! such things ! — things to 
marvel at ! So I sing for them always when the moon 
is full, but, most of all, I sing for Her." 

" Who is she? " 

" One who died, many years ago. Folk told her I was 
dead, killed at sea, and her heart broke — hearts will break 

— sometimes. So when she died, I put off the shoes from 
my feet, and shall go barefoot to my grave. Folk tell 
me that poor Billy 's mad — well, perhaps he is — but he 
sees and hears more than folk think; the Wise Ones tell 
me things. You now; what do they tell me of you? 
Hush! You are on your way to London, they tell me 

— yes — yes, to London town ; you are rich, and shall 
feast with princes, but youth is over-confident, and thus 
shall you sup with beggars. They tell me you came here 
to-night — oh, Youth ! — oh, Impulse ! — hasting — hast- 
ing to save a wanton from herself." 

" Fool ! " exclaimed Barnabas, turning upon the speaker 
in swift anger; for my lady's hand had freed itself from 
his clasp, and she had drawn away from him. 

" Fool ? " repeated the man, shaking his head, " nay, 
sir, I am only mad, folk tell me. Yet the Wise Ones 
make me their confidant, they tell me that she — this 
proud lady — is here to aid an unworthy brother, who 
sent a rogue instead." 

" Brother ! " exclaimed Barnabas, with a sudden light 
in his eyes. 

" Who else, sir? " demands my lady, very cold and 
proud again all at once. 

" But," stammered Barnabas, " but — I thought — " 

" Evil of me ! " says she. 

" No — that is — I — I — Forgive me ! " 

" Sir, there are some things no woman can forgive ; 
you dared to think — " 

" Of the rogue who came instead," said Barnabas. 

"Ah! — the rogue?" 

The Prophecy of Billy Button 127 

" His name is Chichester," said Barnabas. 

" Chichester ! " she repeated, incredulously. " Chi- 
chester ! " 

" A tall, slender, dark man, with a scar on his cheek," 
added Barnabas. 

" Do you mean he was here — here to meet me — 

Now, at this she seemed to shrink into herself; and, 
all at once, sank down, crouching upon her knees, and 
hid her face from the moon. 

"My lady!" 

" Oh ! " she sighed, " oh, that he should have come to 
this ! " 

" My Lady Cleone ! " said Barnabas, and touched her 
very gently. 

" And you — you ! " she cried, shuddering away from 
him, " you thought me what — he would have made 
me ! You thought I — Oh, shame ! Ah, don't touch 

But Barnabas stooped and caught her hands, and 
sank upon his knees, and thus, as they knelt together in 
the moonlight, he drew her so that she must needs let 
him see her face. 

" My lady," said he, very reverently, " my thought of 
you is this, that, if such great honor may be mine, I will 
marry you — to-night." 

But hereupon, with her two hands still prisoned in his, 
and with the tears jet thick upon her lashes, she threw 
back her head, and laughed with her eyes staring into 
his. Thereat Barnabas frowned blackly, and dropped her 
hands, then caught her suddenly in his long arms, and 
held her close. 

" By God! " he exclaimed, " I 'd kiss you, Cleone, on 
that scornful, laughing mouth, only — I love you — and 
this is a solitude. Come away ! " 

" A solitude," she repeated; " yes, and he sent me here 
to meet a beast — a satyr ! And now — you ! You drove 
away the other brute, oh ! I can't struggle — you are too 

128 The Amateur Gentleman 

strong — and nothing matters now ! " And so she sighed, 
and closed her eyes. Then gazing down upon her rich, 
warm beauty, Barnabas trembled, and loosed her, and 
sprang to his feet. 

" I think," said he, turning away to pick up his cudgel, 
" I think — we had — better — go." 

But my lady remained crouched upon her knees, gazing 
up at him under her wet lashes. 

" You did n't — kiss me ! " she said, wonderingly. 

" You were so — helpless ! " said Barnabas. " And I 
honor you because it was — your brother." 

" Ah ! but you doubted me first, you thought I came 
here to meet that — beast ! " 

" Forgive me," said Barnabas, humbly. 

"Why should I?" 

" Because I love you." 

" So many men have told me that," she sighed. 

" But I," said Barnabas, " I am the last, and it is 
written ' the last shall be first,' and I love you because 
you are passionate, and pure, and very brave." 

" Love ! " she exclaimed, " so soon ; you have seen me 
only once ! " 

" Yes," he nodded, " it is, therefore, to be expected 
that I shall worship you also — in due season." 

Now Barnabas stood leaning upon his stick, a tall, 
impassive figure; his voice was low, yet it thrilled in her 
ears, and there was that in his steadfast eyes before 
which her own wavered and fell; yet, even so, from 
the shadow of her hood, she must needs question him 

"Worship me? When?" 

" When you are — my — wife." 

Again she was silent, while one slender hand plucked 
nervously at the grass. 

" Are you so sure of me ? " she inquired at last. 

" No ; only of myself." 

" Ah ! you mean to — force a promise from me — 
here? " 

The Prophecy of Billy Button 129 

" No." 

"Why not?" 

" Because it is night, and you are solitary ; I would 
not have you fear me again. But I shall come to you, 
one day, a day when the sun is in the sky, and friends 
are within call. I shall come and ask you then." 

"And if I refuse?" 

" Then I shall wait." 

"Until I wed another?" 

" Until you change your mind." 

" I think I shall — refuse you." 

" Indeed, I fear it is very likely." 


" Because of my unworthiness ; and, therefore, I would 
not have you kneel while I stand." 

" And the grass is very damp," she sighed. 

So Barnabas stepped forward with hand outstretched 
to aid her, but, as he did so, the wandering singer was 
between them, looking from one to the other with his 
keen, bright eyes. 

"Stay!" said he. "The Wise Ones have told me 
that she who kneels before you now, coveted for her 
beauty, besought for her money, shall kneel thus in the 
time to come ; and one — even I, poor Billy — shall stand 
betwixt you and join your hands thus, and bid you go 
forth trusting in each other's love and strength, even as 
poor Billy does now. And, mayhap, in that hour you 
shall heed the voice, for time rings many changes ; the 
proud are brought low, the humble exalted. Hush! the 
Wise Ones grow impatient for my song; I hear them 
calling from the trees, and must begone. But hearkee! 
they have told me your name, Barnabas? yes, yes; 
Barn — , Barnabas ; for the other, no matter — mum 
for that ! Barnabas, aha ! that minds me — at Barnaby 
Bright we shall meet again, all three of us, under an 
orbed moon, at Barnaby Bright : — 

" ' Oh, Barnaby Bright, Barnaby Bright, 
The sun's awake, and shines all night!' 

130 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Ay, ay, 't is the night o' the fairies — when spirits 
pervade the air. Then will I tell you other truths; but 
now — They call me. She is fair, and passing fair, and 
by her beauty, suffering shall come upon thee ; but 't is 
by suffering that men are made, and because of pride, 
shame shall come on her; but by shame cometh humility. 
Farewell ; I must begone — farewell till Barnaby Bright. 
We are to meet again in London town, I think — yes, 
yes — in London. Oho! oysters! oysters, sir? 

' Many a knight and lady gay 
My oysters fine would try, 
They are the finest oysters 
That ever you could buy ! 

Oysters ! Oysters. 

And so he bowed, turned, and danced away into the 
shadows, and above the hush of the leaves rose the silvery 
jingle of his many buttons, that sank to a chime, to a 
murmur, and was gone. And now my lady sighed and rose 
to her feet, and looking at Barnabas, sighed again — 
though indeed a very soft, little sigh this time. As for 
Barnabas, he yet stood wondering, and looking after the 
strange creature, and pondering his wild words. Thus my 
lady, unobserved, viewed him at her leisure; noted the 
dark, close-curled hair, the full, well-opened, brilliant eye, 
the dominating jaw, the sensitive nostrils, the tender curve 
of the firm, strong mouth. And she had called him " a 
ploughman — a runaway footman," and had even — she 
could see the mark upon his cheek — how red it glowed! 
Did it hurt much, she wondered? 

" Mad of course — yes a madman, poor fellow ! " said 
Barnabas, thoughtfully. 

" And he said your name is Barnabas." 

" Why, to be sure, so he did," said Barnabas, rubbing 
his chin as one at a loss, u which is very strange, for I 
never saw or heard of him before." 

" So then, your name is — Barnabas? " 

" Yes. Barnabas Bar — Beverley." 

The Prophecy of Billy Button 131 


" Yes — Beverley. But we must go." 

" First, tell me how you learned my name? " 

" From the Viscount — Viscount Devenham? " 

" Then, you know the Viscount ? " 

"I do ; we also know each other as rivals." 

"Rivals? For what?" 

" Yourself." 

" For me ? Sir — sir — what did you tell him ? " 

" My name is Barnabas. And I told him that I should 
probably marry you, some day." 

"You told him — that?" 

" I did. I thought it but honorable, seeing he is mv 

" Your friend ! — since when, sir? " 

" Since about ten o'clock this morning." 

" Sir — sir — are you not a very precipitate person? " 

" I begin to think I am. And my name is Barnabas." 

" Since ten o'clock this morning ! Then you knew — 
me first?" 

" By about an hour." 

Swiftly she turned away, yet not before he had seen 
the betraying dimple in her cheek. And so, side by side, 
they came to the edge of the clearing. 

Now as he stooped to open a way for her among the 
brambles, she must needs behold again the glowing mark 
upon his cheek, and seeing it, her glance fell, and her lips 
grew very tender and pitiful, and, in that moment, she 

" Sir," she said, very softly, " sir? " 

" My name is Barnabas." 

" I fear — I — does your cheek pain you very much, 
Mr. Beverley? " 

" Thank you, no. And my name is Barnabas." 

" I did not mean to — to — " 

" No, no, the fault was mine — I — I frightened you, 
and indeed the pain is quite gone," he stammered, hold- 
ing aside the brambles for her passage. Yet she stood 

132 The Amateur Gentleman 

where she was, and her face was hidden in her hood. 
At last she spoke and her voice was very low. 

w Quite gone, sir? " 

" Quite gone, and my name is — " 

" I 'm very — glad — Barnabas." 

Four words only, be it noted; yet on the face of 
Barnabas was a light that was not of the moon, as they 
entered the dim woodland together. 



Their progress through the wood was slow, by reason 
of the undergrowth, yet Barnabas noticed that where the 
way permitted, she hurried on at speed, and moreover, 
that she was very silent and kept her face turned from 
him; therefore he questioned her. 

" Are you afraid of these woods ? " 

" No." 

" Of me? " 

" No." 

" Then, I fear you are angry again." 

" I think Barnab — your name is — hateful! " 

" Strange! " said Barnabas, " I was just thinking how 
musical it was — as you say it." 

"I — oh ! I thought your cheek was paining you," 
said she, petulantly. 

" My cheek? — what has that to do with it? " 

" Everything, sir ! " 

" That," said Barnabas, " that I don't understand." 

" Of course you don't ! " she retorted. 

" Hum ! " said Barnabas. 

" And now ! " she demanded, " pray how did you know 
I was to be at Oakshott's Barn to-night? " 

" From my valet." 

"Your valet?" 

" Yes ; though to be sure, he was a poacher, then." 

" Sir, pray be serious ! " 

" 1 generally am." 

" But why have a poacher for your valet? " 

134 The Amateur Gentleman 

" That he might poach no more ; and because I under- 
stand that he is the best valet in the world." 

Here she glanced up at Barnabas and shook her head: 
" I fear I shall never understand )ou, Mr. Beverley." 

" That time will show ; and my name is Barnabas." 

" But how did — this poacher — know? " 

" He was the man who brought you the letter from 
Mr. Chichester." 

" It was written by my — brother, sir." 

" He was the man who gave you your brother's letter 
in Annersley Wood." 

" Yes — I remember — in the wood." 

" Where I found you lying quite unconscious." 

" Where you found me — yes." 

" Lying — quite unconscious ! " 

" Yes," she answered, beginning to hasten her steps 
again. " And where you left me without telling me your 
name — or — even asking mine." 

" For which I blamed myself — afterwards," said 

" Indeed, it was very remiss of you." 

" Yes," sighed Barnabas, " I came back to try and 
find you." 

"Really, sir?" said she, with black brows arched — 
" did you indeed, sir? " 

" But I was too late, and I feared I had lost 
you — " 

" Why, that reminds me, I lost my handkerchief." 

" Oh ! " said Barnabas, staring up at the moon. 

" I think I must have dropped it — in the wood." 

" Then, of course, it is gone — you may depend upon 
that," said Barnabas, shaking his head at the moon. 

" It had my monogram embroidered in one corner." 

" Indeed ! " said Barnabas. 

" Yes ; I was — hoping — that you had seen it, 
perhaps? " 

" On a bramble-bush," said Barnabas, nodding at the 

Barnabas Undertakes a Mission 135 

"Then — you did find it, sir?" 

" Yes ; and I beg to remind you that my name — " 

"Where is it?" 

" In my pocket." 

" Then why could n't you say so before? " 

" Because I wished to keep it there." 

" Please give it to me ! " 

" Why? " 

" Because no man shall have my favors to wear until 
he has my promise, also." 

" Then, since I have the one — give me the other." 

" Mr. Beverley, you will please return my handker- 
chief," and stopping all at once, she held out her hand' 

" Of course," sighed Barnabas, " on a condition — " 

" On no condition, sir ! " 

" That you remember my name is Barnabas." 

" But I detest your name." 

" I am hoping that by use it may become a little less 
objectionable," said he, rather ponderously. 

" It never can — never ; and I want my handkerchief, 
— Barnabas." 

So Barnabas sighed again, and perforce gave the hand- 
kerchief into her keeping. And now it was she who smiled 
up at the moon; but as for Barnabas, his gaze was bent 
earthwards. After they had gone some way in silence, 
he spoke. 

"Have you met — Sir Mortimer Carnaby — often?" 
he inquired. 

" Yes," she answered, then seeing his scowling look, 
added, " very often, oh, very often indeed, sir ! " 

" Ha ! " said frowning Barnabas, " and is he one of the 
many who have — told you their love ? " 

" Yes." 

" Hum," said Barnabas, and strode on in gloomy 
silence. Seeing which she smiled in the shadow of her 
hood, and thereafter grew angry all at once. 

" And pray, why not, sir? " she demanded, haughtily, 

136 The Amateur Gentleman 

" though, indeed, it does not at all concern you ; and he 
is at least a gentleman, and a friend of the Prince — " 

" And has an excellent eye for horseflesh — and 
women," added Barnabas. 

Now when he said this, she merely looked at him once, 
and thereafter forgot all about him, whereby Barnabas 
gradually perceived that his offence was great, and would 
have made humble atonement, yet found her blind and 
deaf, which was but natural, seeing that, for her, he had 
ceased to exist. 

But they reached a stile. It was an uncommonly high 
stile, an awkward stile at any time, more especially at 
'night. Nevertheless, she faced it resolutely, even though 
Barnabas had ceased to exist. When, therefore, having 
vaulted over, he would have helped her, she looked over 
him, and past him, and through him, and mounted un- 
aided, confident of herself, proud and supremely dis- 
dainful both of the stile and Barnabas ; and then — be- 
cause of her pride, or her disdain, or her long cloak, or 
all three — she slipped, and to save herself must needs 
catch at Barnabas, and yield herself to his arm; so, for 
a moment, she lay in his embrace, felt his tight clasp 
about her, felt his quick breath upon her cheek. Then 
he had set her down, and was eyeing her anxiously. 

" Your foot, is it hurt? " he inquired. 

" Thank you, no," she answered, and turning with head 
carried high, hurried on faster than ever. 

" You should have taken my hand," said he ; but he 
spoke to deaf ears. 

" You will find the next stile easier, I think," he ven- 
tured; but still she hurried on, unheeding. 

" You walk very fast ! " said he again, but still she 
deigned him no reply; therefore he stooped till he might 
see beneath her hood. 

" Dear lady," said he very gently, " if I offended you 
a while ago — forgive me — Cleone." 

" Indeed," said she, looking away from him ; " it would 
seem I must be always forgiving you, Mr. Beverley." 

Barnabas Undertakes a Mission 137 

" Why, surely it is a woman's privilege to forgive, 
Cleone ■ — and my name — " 

" And a man's prerogative to be forgiven, I suppose, 
Mr. Beverley." 

" When he repents as I do, Cleone ; and my — " 

" Oh ! I forgive you," she sighed. 

" Yet you still walk very fast." 

" It must be nearly ten o'clock." 

" I suppose so," said Barnabas, " and you will, natur- 
ally, be anxious to reach home again." 

" Home," she said bitterly ; " I have no home." 

" But — " 

" I live in a gaol — a prison. Yes, a hateful, hateful 
prison, watched by a one-legged gaoler, and guarded by 
a one-armed tyrant — yes, a tyrant ! " Here, having 
stopped to stamp her foot, she walked on faster than 

" Can you possibly mean old Jerry and the Captain? " 

Here my lady paused in her quick walk, and even 
condescended to look at Barnabas. 

" Do you happen to know them too, sir? " 

" Yes ; and my name is — " 

" Perhaps you met them also this morning, sir? " 

" Yes ; and my — " 

" Indeed," said she, with curling lip ; " this has been 
quite an eventful day for you." 

" On the whole, I think it has ; and may I remind you 
that my — " 

" Perhaps you don't believe me when I say he is a 

" Hum," said Barnabas. 

"You don't, do you?" 

" Why, I 'm afraid not," he admitted. 

" I 'm nineteen ! " said she, standing very erect. 

" I should have judged you a little older," said 

" So I am — - in mind, and — and experience. Yet here 
I live, prisoned in a dreary old house, and with nothing 

138 The Amateur Gentleman 

to see but trees, and toads, and cows and cabbages; and 
I 'm watched over, and tended from morning till night, and 
am the subject of more councils of war than Buonaparte's 
army ever was." 

" What do you mean by councils of war ? " 

" Oh ! whenever I do anything my tyrant disapproves 
of, he retires to what he calls the ' round house,' summons 
the Bo'sun, and they argue and talk over me as though 
I were a hostile fleet, and march up and down forming 
plans of attack and defence, till I burst in on them, and 
then — and then — Oh ! there are many kinds of tyrants, 
and he is one. And so to-night I left him; I ran away 
to meet — " She stopped suddenly, and her head drooped, 
and Barnabas saw her white hands clench themselves. 

" Your brother," said he. 

" Yes, my — brother," but her voice faltered at the 
word, and she went on through the wood, but slowly 
now, and with head still drooping. And so, at last, they 
came out of the shadows into the soft radiance of the 
moon, and thus Barnabas saw that she was weeping; 
and she, because she could no longer hide her grief, 
turned and laid a pleading hand upon his arm. 

" Pray, think of him as kindly as you can," she sighed, 
" you see — he is only a boy — my brother." 

" So young? " said Barnabas. 

" Just twenty, but younger than his age — much 
younger. You see," she went on hastily, " he went to 
London a boy — and — and he thought Mr. Chichester 
was his friend, and he lost much money at play, and, 
somehow, put himself in Mr. Chichester's power. He 
is my half-brother, really ; but I — love him so, and I 've 
tried to take care of him — I was always so much stronger 
than he — and — and so I would have you think of him 
as generously as you can." 

" Yes," said Barnabas, " yes." But now she stopped 
again so that he must needs stop too, and when she 
spoke her soft voice thrilled with a new intensity. 

" Will you do more? You are going to London — ■ 

Barnabas Undertakes a Mission 139 

will you seek him out, will you try to — save him from 
himself? Will you promise me to do this — will you? " 

Now seeing the passionate entreaty in her eyes, feeling 
it in the twitching fingers upon his arm, Barnabas sud- 
denly laid his own above that slender hand, and took it 
into his warm clasp. 

" My lady," said he, solemnly, " I will." As he spoke 
he stooped his head low and lower, until she felt his lips 
warm upon her palm, a long, silent pressure, and yet her 
hand was not withdrawn. 

Now although Barnabas had clean forgotten the rules 
and precepts set down in the " priceless wollum,". he did 
it all with a graceful ease which could not have been 
bettered — no, not even by the Person of Quality itself. 

" But it will be difficult," she sighed, as they went on 
together. " Ronald is very headstrong and proud — it 
will be very difficult ! " 

" No matter," said Barnabas. 

" And — dangerous, perhaps." 

" No matter for that either," said Barnabas. 

" Does it seem strange that I should ask so much of 
you? " 

" The most natural thing in the world," said Barnabas. 

" But you are a stranger — almost ! " 

" But I — love you, Cleone." 

After this there fell a silence between them; and so 
having crossed the moonlit meadow, they came to a tall 
hedge beyond whose shadow the road led away, white 
under the moon; close by the ways divided, and here 
stood a weather-beaten finger-post. Now beneath this 
hedge they stopped, and it is to be noted that neither 
looked at the other. 

" Sir," said she, softly, " we part here, my home lies 
yonder," and she pointed to where above the motionless 
tree-tops rose the gables and chimneys of a goodly house. 

" It would seem to be fairly comfortable as prisons 
go," said Barnabas; but my lady only sighed. 

" Do you start for London — soon? " 

14c The Amateur Gentleman 

" To-night," nodded Barnabas. 

" Sir," said she, after a pause, " I would thank you, 
if I could, for — for all that you have done for me." 

" No, no," said Barnabas, hastily. 

" Words are poor things, I know, but how else may 
I show my gratitude? " 

And now it was Barnabas who was silent ; but at last — 

" There is a way," said he, staring at the finger-post. 

" How — what way? " 

" You might — kiss me — once, Cleone." 

Now here she must needs steal a swift look at him, and 
thus she saw that he still stared at the ancient finger-post, 
but that his hands were tight clenched. 

" I only ask," he continued heavily, " for what I might 
have taken." 

" But did n't ! " she added, with lips and eyes grown 
suddenly tender. 

" No," sighed Barnabas, " nor shall I ever, — until you 
will it so, — because, you see, I love you." 

Now as he gazed at the finger-post, even so she gazed 
at him ; and thus she saw again the mark upon his cheek, 
and looking, sighed; indeed, it was the veriest ghost of 
a sigh, yet Barnabas heard it, and straightway forgot the 
finger-post, forgot the world and all things in it, save her 
warm beauty, the red allurement of her mouth, and the 
witchery of her drooping lashes ; therefore he reached out 
his hands to her, and she saw that they were trembling. 

" Cleone," he murmured, " oh, Cleone — look up ! " 

But even as he spoke she recoiled from his touch, for, 
plain and clear, came the sound of footsteps on the road 
near by. Sighing, Barnabas turned thitherwards and be- 
held advancing towards them one who paused, now and 
then, to look about him as though at a loss, and then 
hurried on again. A very desolate figure he was, and 
quaintly pathetic because of his gray hair, and the empty 
sleeve that flapped helplessly to and fro with the hurry 
of his going — a figure, indeed, that there was no mis- 
taking. Being come to the finger-post, he paused to look 

Barnabas Undertakes a Mission 141 

wistfully on all sides, and Barnabas could see that his 
face was drawn and haggard. For a moment he gazed 
about him wild-eyed and eager, then with a sudden, hope- 
less gesture, he leaned his one arm against the battered 
sign-post and hid his face there. 

" Oh, my lass — my dear ! " he cried in a strangled 
voice, "why did you leave me? Oh, my lass!" 

Then all at once came a rustle of parting leaves, the 
flutter of flying draperies, and Cleone had fled to that 
drooping, disconsolate figure, had wreathed her protect- 
ing arms about it, and so all moans, and sobs, and little 
tender cries, had drawn her tyrant's head down upon her 
gentle bosom and clasped it there. 




" Why, Cleone ! " exclaimed the Captain, and folded his 
solitary arm about her ; but not content with this, my lady 
must needs take his empty sleeve also, and, drawing it 
close »about her neck, she held it there. 

" Oh, Cleone ! " sighed the Captain, " my dear, dear 
lass ! " 

"No," she cried, " I 'm a heartless savage, an ungrateful 
wretch ! I am, I am — and I hate myself ! " and here,, 
forthwith, she stamped her foot at herself. 

" No, no, you 're not — I say no ! You did n't mean to 
break my heart. You 've come back to me, thank God, and 
— and — Qh, egad, Cleone, I swear — I say I swear — 
by Gog and Magog, I 'm snuffling like a birched school- 
boy ; but then I — could n't bear to — lose my dear 

" Dear," she sighed, brushing away his tears with the cuff 
of his empty sleeve, " dear, if you 'd only try to hate me 
a little — just a little, now and then, I don't think I should 
be quite such a wretch to you." Here she stood on tip-toe 
and kissed him on the chin, that being nearest. " I 'm a 
cat — yes, a spiteful cat, and I must scratch sometimes ; 
but ah! if you knew how I hated myself after! And I 
know you '11 go and forgive me again, and that 's what 
makes it so hard to bear." 

" Forgive you, Clo' — ay, to be sure ! You 've come 
back to me, you see, and you did n't mean to leave me soli- 
tary and — " 

An Ancient Finger-Post 143 

" Ah, but I did — I did ! And that 's why I am a 
wretch, and a cat, and a savage ! I meant to Fim away and 
leave you for ever and ever ! " 

" The house would be very dark without you, Cleone." 

" Dear, hold me tighter — now listen ! There are times 
when I hate the house, and the country, and — yes, even 
you. And at such times I grow afraid of myself — hold me 
tighter ! — at such times I long for London — and — 
and — Ah, but you do love me, don't you? " 

" Love you — my own lass ! " The Captain's voice was 
very low, yet eloquent with yearning tenderness ; but even 
so, his quick ear had caught a rustle in the hedge, and his 
sharp eye had seen Barnabas standing in the shadow. 
" Who 's that? " he demanded sharply. 

" Why, indeed," says my lady, " I had forgotten him. 
'T is a friend of yours, I think. Pray come out, Mr. 

" Beverley ! " exclaimed the Captain. " Now sink me ! 
what 's all this ? Come out, sir, — I say come out and 
show yourself ! " 

So Barnabas stepped out from the hedge, and uncover- 
ing his head, bowed low. 

" Your very humble, obedient servant, sir," said he. 

" Ha! by Thor and Odin, so it 's you again, is it, sir? 
Pray, what brings you still so far from the fashionable 
world? What d' ye want, sir, eh, sir? " 

" Briefly, sir," answered Barnabas, " your ward." 

" Eh — what? what? " cried the Captain. 

" Sir," returned Barnabas, " since you are the Lady 
Cleone's lawful guardian, it is but right to tell you that 
I hope to marry her — some day." 

" Marry ! " exclaimed the Captain. " Marry my — 
damme, sir, but you 're cool — I say cool and devilish im- 
pudent, and — and — oh, Gad, Cleone ! " 

" My dear," said she, smiling and stroking her tyrant's 
shaven cheek, " why distress ourselves, we can always re- 
fuse him, can't we? " 

" Ay, to be sure, so we can," nodded the Captain, " but 

144 The Amateur Gentleman 

oh ! sink me, — I say sink and scuttle me, the audacity 
of it ! I say he 's a cool, impudent, audacious fellow ! " 

" Yes, dear, indeed I think he 's all that," said my lady, 
nodding her head at Barnabas very decidedly, " and I for- 
got to tell you that beside all this, he is the — gentleman 
who — saved me from my folly to-night, and brought me 
back to you." 

" Eh? eh? " cried the Captain, staring. 

" Yes, dear, and this is he who — " But here she drew 
down her tyrant's gray head, and whispered three words 
in his ear. Whatever she said it affected the Captain 
mightily, for his frown changed suddenly into his youthful 
smile, and reaching out impulsively, he grasped Barnabas 
by the hand. 

" Aha, sir ! " said he, " you have a good, big fist here ! " 

" Indeed," said Barnabas, glancing down at it some- 
what ruefully, " it is — very large, I fear." 

" Over large, sir ! " says my lady, also regarding it, and 
with her head at a critical angle, " it could never be called 
— an elegant hand, could it? " 

" Elegant ! " snorted the Captain, " I say pooh ! I 
say pish ! Sir, you must come in and sup with us, my house 
is near by. Good English beef and ale, sir." 

Barnabas hesitated, and glanced toward Cleone, but her 
face was hidden in the shadow of her hood, wherefore his 
look presently wandered to the finger-post, near by, upon 
whose battered sign he read the words : — 


" Sir," said he, " I would, most gratefully, but that I 
start for London at once." Yet while he spoke, he frowned 
blackly at the finger-post, as though it had been his worst 

" London ! " exclaimed the Captain, " so you are still 
bound for the fashionable world, are ye? " 

" Yes," sighed Barnabas, " but I — " 

" Pish, sir, I say fiddle-de-dee ! " 

" I have lately undertaken a mission." 

An Ancient Finger-Post 145 

" Ha! So you won't come in? " 

" Thank you, no ; this mission is important, and I 
must be gone ; " and here again Barnabas sighed. 

Then my lady turned and looked at Barnabas, and, 
though she uttered no word, her eyes were eloquent; so 
that the heart of him was uplifted, and he placed his 
hand upon the finger-post as though it had been his best 

" Why then, so be it, young sir," said the Captain, " it 
remains only to thank you, which I do, I say which I do 
most heartily, and to bid you good-by." 

" Until we meet again, Captain." 

" Eh — what, sir? meet when? " 

" At ' Barnaby Bright,' " says my lady, staring up at 
the moon. 

" In a month's time," added Barnabas. 

" Eh? " exclaimed the Captain, " what 's all this? " 

" In a month's time, sir, I shall return to ask Cleone 
to be my wife," Barnabas explained. 

" And," said my lady, smiling at the Captain's per- 
plexity, " we shall be glad to see him, shan't we, dear? 
and shall, of course, refuse him, shan't we, dear? " 

"Refuse him? yes — no — egad! I don't know," said 
the Captain, running his fingers through his hair, " I say, 
deuce take me — I 'm adrift ; I say where 's the Bo'sun? " 

" Good-by, sir ! " says my lady, very seriously, and 
gave him her hand; " good-by." 

" Till ' Barnaby Bright,' " said Barnabas. 

At this she smiled, a little tremulously perhaps. 

" May heaven prosper you in your mission," said she, 
and turned away. 

" Young sir," said the Captain, " always remember my 
name is Chumly, John Chumly, plain and unvarnished, 
and, whether we refuse you or not, John Chumly will ever 
be ready to take you by the hand. Farewell, sir ! " 

So tyrant and captive turned away and went down the 
by-road together, and his solitary arm was close about 
Jier. But Barnabas stood there under the finger-post until 

146 The Amateur Gentleman 

a bend in the road hid them; then he, too, sighed and 
turned away. Yet he had gone only a little distance when 
he heard a voice calling him, and, swinging round, he saw 
Cleone standing under the finger-post. 

" I wanted to give you — this," said she, as he came 
striding back, and held out a folded paper. " It is his — 
my brother's — letter. Take it with you, it will serve to 
show you what a boy he is, and will tell you where to find 

So Barnabas took the letter and thrust it into his 
pocket. But she yet stood before him, and now, once 
again, their glances avoided each other. 

" I also wanted to — ask you — about your cheek," 
said she at last. 

" Yes ? " said Barnabas. 

" You are quite sure it does n't — pain you, Mr. 
Bev— " 

" Must I remind you that my name — " 

" Are you quite sure — Barnabas ? " 

" Quite sure — yes, oh yes ! " he stammered. 

" Because it — glows very red ! " she sighed, though 
indeed she still kept her gaze averted, " so will you please 
— stoop your head a little? " 

Wonderingly Barnabas obeyed, and then — even as he 
did so, she leaned swiftly towards him, and for an instant 
her soft, warm mouth rested upon his cheek. Then, before 
he could stay her, she was off and away; and her flying 
feet had borne her out of sight. 

Then Barnabas sighed, and would have followed, but 
the ancient finger-post barred his way with its two arms 
pointing: — 


So he stopped, glanced about him to fix the hallowed 
place in his memory, and, obeying the directing finger, 
set off London-wards. 



On went Barnabas swift of foot and light of heart, walk- 
ing through a World of Romance, and with his eyes turned 
up to the luminous heaven. Yet it was neither of the 
moon, nor the stars, nor the wonder thereof that he was 
thinking, but only of the witchery of a woman's eyes, 
and the thrill of a woman's lips upon his cheek; and, in- 
deed, what more natural, more right, and altogether 
proper? Little recked he of the future, of the perils and 
dangers to be encountered, of the sorrows and tribulations 
that lay in wait for him, or of the enemies that he had 
made that day, for youth is little given to brooding, and 
is loftily indifferent to consequences. 

So it was of Lady Cleone Meredith he thought as he 
strode along the moonlit highway, and it was of her that 
he was thinking as he turned into that narrow by-lane 
where stood " The Spotted Cow." As he advanced, he 
espied some one standing in the shadow of one of the great 
trees, who, as he came nearer, stepped out into the moon- 
light ; and then Barnabas saw that it was none other than 
his newly engaged valet. The same, yet not the same, for 
the shabby clothes had given place to a sober, well-fitting 
habit, and as he took off his hat in salutation, Barnabas 
noticed that his hollow cheeks were clean and freshly 
shaved; he was, indeed, a new man. 

But now, as they faced each other, Barnabas observed 
something else; John Peterby's lips were compressed, 
and in his eye was anxiety, the which had, somehow, got 
into his voice when he spoke, though his tone was low and 
modulated : 

148 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Sir, if you are for London to-night, we had better 
start at once, the coach leaves Tenter den within the hour." 

" But," says Barnabas, setting his head aslant, and 
rubbing his chin with the argumentative air that was so 
very like his father, " I have ordered supper here, 

" Which — under the circumstances — I have ventured 
to countermand, sir." 

" Oh? " said Barnabas, " pray, what circumstances? " 

" Sir, as I told you, the mail — " 

" John Peterby, speak out — what is troubling you ? " 

But now, even while Peterby stood hesitating, from the 
open casement of the inn, near at hand, came the sound 
of a laugh: a soft, gentle, sibilant laugh which Barnabas 
immediately recognized. 

" Ah ! " said he, clenching his fist. " I think I under- 
stand." As he turned towards the inn, Peterby interposed. 

" Sir," he whispered, " «ir, if ever a man meant mischief 
— he does. He came back an hour ago, and they have 
been waiting for you ever since." 


" He and the other." 

"What other?" 

" Sir, I don't know." 

"Is he a very — young man, this other? " 

" Yes, sir, he seems so. And they have been drinking 
together and — I 've heard enough to know that they mean 
you harm." But here Master Barnabas smiled with all 
the arrogance of youth and shook his head. 

" John Peterby," said he, " learn that the first thing I 
desire in my valet is obedience. Pray stand out of my 
way ! " So, perforce Peterby stood aside, yet Barnabas 
had scarce taken a dozen strides ere Clemency stood 
before him. 

" Go back," she whispered, " go back ! " 

" Impossible," said Barnabas, " I have a mission to 

" Go back ! " she repeated in the same tense whisper, 

How Barnabas Saved his Life 149 

" you must — oh, you must ! I 've heard he has killed a 
man before now — " 

" And yet I must see and speak with his companion." 

" No, no — ah ! I pray you — " 

" Nay," said Barnabas, " if you will, and if need be, pray 
for me." So saying he put her gently aside, and entering 
the inn, came to the door of that room wherein he had 
written the letter to his father. 

" I tell you I '11 kill him, Dalton," said a soft, deliberate 

" Undoubtedly ; the light 's excellent ; but, my dear 
fellow, why — ? " 

" I ob j ect to him strongly, for one thing, and — " 

The voice was hushed suddenly, as Barnabas set wide 
the door and stepped into the room, with Peterby at his 

Mr. Chichester was seated at the table with a glass 
beside him, but Barnabas looked past him to his cem- 
panion who sprawled on the other side of the hearth — a 
sleepy, sighing gentleman, very high as to collar, very 
tight as to waist, and most ornate as to waistcoat ; young 
he was certainly, yet with his first glance, Barnabas knew 
instinctively that this could not be the youth he sought. 
Nevertheless he took off his hat and saluted him with a 
bow that for stateliness left the " stiff-legged gentleman " 

" Sir," said he, " pray what might your name be? " 

Instead of replying, the sleepy gentleman opened his 
eyes rather wider than was usual and stared at Barnabas 
with a growing surprise, stared at him from head to foot 
and up again, then, without changing his lounging atti- 
tude, spoke: 

" Oh, Gad, Chichester ! — is this the — man ? " 

" Yes." 

" But — my dear Chit ! Surely you don't propose to 
— this fellow! Who is he? What is he? Look at his 
boots — oh, Gad ! " 

Hereupon Barnabas resumed his hat, and advancing 

150 The Amateur Gentleman 

leaned his clenched fists on the table, and from that emi- 
nence smiled down at the speaker, that is to say his lips 
curled and his teeth gleamed in the candle-light. 

" Sir," said he gently, " you will perhaps have the ex- 
treme condescension to note that my boots are strong 
boots, and very serviceable either for walking, or for 
kicking an insolent puppy." 

" If I had a whip, now," sighed the gentleman, " if I 
only had a whip, I 'd whip you out of the room. Chiches- 
ter, — pray look at that coat, oh, Gad ! " 

But Mr. Chichester had risen, and now crossing to the 
door, he locked it, and dropped the key into his pocket. 

" As you say, the light is excellent, my dear Dalton," 
said he, fixing Barnabas with his unwavering stare. 

" But my dear Chit, you never mean to fight the fellow 
— a — a being who wears such a coat ! such boots ! My 
dear fellow, be reasonable ! Observe that hat ! Good Gad ! 
Take your cane and whip him out — positively you can- 
not fight this bumpkin." 

" None the less I mean to shoot him — like a cur, Dal- 
ton." And Mr. Chichester drew a pistol from his pocket, 
and fell to examining flint and priming with a practised 
eye. " I should have preferred my regular tools ; but I 
dare say this will do the business well enough ; pray, snuff 
the candles." 

Now, as Barnabas listened to the soft, deliberate words, 
as he noted Mr. Chichester's assured air, his firm hand, 
his glowing eye and quivering nostrils, a sudden deadly 
nausea came over him, and he leaned heavily upon the 

" Sirs," said he, uncertainly, and speaking with an 
effort, " I have never used a pistol in my life." 

" One could tell as much from his boots," murmured Mr. 
Dalton, snuffing the candles. 

" You have another pistol, I think, Dalton ; pray lend 
it to him. We will take opposite corners of the room, and 
fire when you give the word." 

" All quite useless, Chit ; this fellow won't fight." 

How Barnabas Saved his Life 151 

" No," said Barnabas, thrusting his trembling hands 
into his pockets, " not — in a corner." 

Mr. Chichester shrugged his shoulders, sat down, and 
leaning back in his chair stared up at pale-faced Barna- 
bas, tapping the table-edge softly with the barrel of his 

" Not in a corner — I told you so, Chit. Oh, take your 
cane and whip him out ! " 

" I mean," said Barnabas, very conscious of the betray- 
ing quaver in his voice, " I mean that, as I 'm — unused 
to — shooting, the corner would be — too far." 

"Too far? Oh, Gad!" exclaimed Mr. Dalton. 
"What's this?" 

" As for pistols, I have one here," continued Barnabas, 
" and if we must shoot, we '11 do it here — across the 

"Eh — what? Across the table! but, oh, Gad, Chi- 
chester ! this is madness ! " said Mr. Dalton. 

" Most duels are," said Barnabas, and as he spoke he 
drew from his pocket the pistol he had taken from Mr. 
Chichester earlier in the evening and, weapon in hand, sank 
into a chair, thus facing Mr. Chichester across the table. 

" But this is murder — positive murder ! " cried Mr. 

" Sir," said Barnabas, " I am no duellist, as I told you ; 
and it seems to me that this equalizes our chances, for 
I can no more fail of hitting my man at this distance 
than he of shooting me dead across the width of the room. 
And, sir — if I am to — die to-night, I shall most ear- 
nestly endeavor to take Mr. Chichester with me." 

There was a tremor in his voice again as he spoke, but 
his eye was calm, his brow serene, and his hand steady as 
he cocked the pistol, and leaning his elbow upon the table, 
levelled it within six inches of Mr. Chichester's shirt frill. 
But hereupon Mr. Dalton sprang to his feet with a stifled 

" I tell you it 's murder — murder ! " he exclaimed, and 
took a quick step towards them. 

152 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Peterby ! " said Barnabas. 

" Sir? " said Peterby, who had been standing rigid be- 
side the door. 

" Take my stick," said Barnabas, holding it out 
towards him, but keeping his gaze upon Mr. Chichester's 
narrowed eyes ; " it 's heavy you '11 find, and should 
this person presume to interfere, knock him down with 

" Yes, sir," said Peterby, and took the stick accordingly. 

" But — oh, Gad ! " exclaimed Dalton, " I tell you this 
can't go on ! " 

" Indeed, I hope not," said Barnabas ; " but it is for 
Mr. Chichester to decide. I am ready for the count when 
he is." 

But Mr. Chichester sat utterly still, his chin on his 
breast, staring at Barnabas under his brows, one hand 
tight clenched about the stock of his weapon on the table 
before him, the other hanging limply at his side. So for 
an interval they remained thus, staring into each other's 
eyes, in a stillness so profound that it seemed all four 
men had ceased breathing. Then Mr. Chichester sighed 
faintly, dropped his eyes to the muzzle of the weapon so 
perilously near, glanced back at the pale, set face and 
unwinking eyes of him who held it, and sighed again. 

" Dalton," said he, " pray open the door, and order the 
chaise," and he laid the key upon the table. 

" First," said Barnabas, " I will relieve you of that — 
encumbrance," and he pointed to the pistol yet gripped in 
Mr. Chichester's right hand. Without a word Mr. Chi- 
chester rose, and leaving the weapon upon the table, turned 
and walked to the window, while Mr. Dalton, having un- 
locked the door, hurried away to the stable-yard, and was 
now heard calling for the ostlers. 

" Peterby," said Barnabas, " take this thing and throw 
it into the horse-pond; yet, no, give it to the gentleman 
who just went out." 

" Yes, sir," said Peterby, and, taking up the pistol, he 
went out, closing the door behind him. 

How Barnabas Saved his Life 153 

Mr. Chichester still lounged in the window, and 
hummed softly to himself; but as for Barnabas, he sat 
rigid in his chair, staring blankly at the opposite wali, 
his eyes wide, his lips tense, and with a gleam of moisture 
amid the curls at his temples. So the one lounged and 
hummed, and the other glared stonily before him until 
came the grind of wheels and the stamping of hoofs. 
Then Mr. Chichester took up his hat and cane, and, hum- 
ming still, crossed to the door, and lounged out into the 

Came a jingle of harness, a sound of voices, the slam 
of a door, and the chaise rolled away down the lane, 
farther and farther, until the rumble of its wheels died 
away in the distance. Then Barnabas laughed — a sud- 
den shrill laugh — and clenched his fists, and strove against 
the laughter, and choked, and so sank forward with his 
face upon his arms as one that is very weary. Now, pres- 
ently, as he sat thus, it seemed to him that one spoke a 
long way off, whereupon, in a little, he raised his head, 
and beheld Clemency. 

" You — are not hurt ? " she inquired anxiously. 

"Hurt?" said Barnabas, " no, not hurt, Mistress 
Clemency, not hurt, I thank you; but I think I "have 
grown a — great deal — older." 

" I saw it all, through the window, and yet I — don't 
know why you are alive." 

" I think because I was so very much — afraid," said 

" Sir," said she, with her brown hands clasped to- 
gether, " was it for — if it was for — my sake that you — ■ 
quarrelled, and — " 

" No," said Barnabas, " it was because of — another." 

Now, when he said this, Clemency stared at him wide- 
eyed, and, all in a moment, flushed painfully and turned 
away, so that Barnabas wondered. 

" Good-by ! " said she, suddenly, and crossed to the 
door, but upon the threshold paused ; " I did pray for 
you," she said, over her shoulder. 

154 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Ah ! " said Barnabas, rising, " you prayed for me, 
and behold, I am alive." 

" Good-by ! " she repeated, her face still averted. 

" Good-by ! " said Barnabas, " and will you remember 
me in your prayers — sometimes? " 

" My prayers ! Why? " 

" Because the prayers of a sweet, pure woman may 
come between man and evil — like a shield." 

" I will," said she, very softly. " Oh, I will," and so, 
with a swift glance, was gone. 

Being come out of the inn, Barnabas met with his valet, 
John Peterby. 

" Sir," he inquired, " what now? " 

" Now," said Barnabas, " the Tenterden coach, and 



Of all the lions that ever existed, painted or otherwise* 
white lions, blue lions, black, green, or red lions, surely 
never was there one like the " White Lion " at Tenterderu 
For he was such a remarkably placid lion, although pre- 
cariously balanced upon the extreme point of one claw, 
and he stared down at all and sundry with such round,, 
inquiring eyes, as much as to say: 

"Who are you? What's your father? Where are 
you going? " Indeed, so very inquisitive was he that his 
very tail had writhed itself into a note of interrogation, 
and, like a certain historical personage, was forever ask- 
ing a question. To-night he had singled out Barnabas 
from the throng, and was positively bombarding him with 
questions, as: 

"Dark or fair? Tall or short? Does she love you? 
Will she remember you? Will she kiss you — next time? 
Aha ! will she, will she ? " 

But here, feeling a touch upon his arm, Barnabas turned 
to find Peterby at his elbow, and thus once more became 
aware of the hubbub about him. 

" Box seat, sir ; next to the coachman ! " says Peterby 
above the din, for voices are shouting, horses snorting and 
stamping, ostlers are hurrying here, running there, and 
swearing everywhere; waiters and serving-maids are 
dodging to and fro, and all is hurry and bustle, for the 
night mail is on the eve of departure for London. 

Throned above all this clamor, calmly aloof, yet withal 
watchful of eye, sits the coachman, beshawled to the ear* 

156 The Amateur Gentleman 

of him, hatted to the eyes of him, and in a wondrous coat 
of many capes; a ponderous man, hoarse of voice and 
mottled of face, who, having swallowed his hot rum and 
water in three leisurely gulps, tosses down the glass to the 
waiting pot-boy (and very nearly hits a fussy little gentle- 
man in a green spencer, who carries a hat-box in one hand 
and a bulging valise in the other, and who ducks indig- 
nantly, but just in time), sighs, shakes his head, and pro- 
ceeds to rewind the shawl about his neck and chin, and to 
belt himself into his seat, throwing an occasional encour- 
aging curse to the perspiring ostlers below. 

"Coachman!" cries the fussy gentleman, "hi, coach- 

" The ' Markis ' seems a bit fresh to-night, Sam," says 
Mottle-face affably to one of the ostlers. 

" Fresh ! " exclaims that worthy as the ' Marquis ' rears 
again, " fresh, I believe you — burn 'is bones ! " 

" Driver ! " shouts the fussy gentleman, " driver ! " 

" Why then, bear 'im up werry short, Sam." 

"Driver!" roars the fussy little gentleman, "driver! 
coachman ! oh, driver ! " 

" Veil, sir, that 's me? " says Mottle-face, condescending 
to become aware of him at last. 

" Give me a hand up with my valise — d' ye hear ? " 

" Walise, sir? No, sir, can't be done, sir. In the boot, 
sir; guard, sir." 

" Boot ! " cries the fussy gentleman indignantly. " I '11 
never trust my property in the boot ! " 

" Then v'y not leave it be'ind, sir, and stay vith it, 
or — " 

" Nonsense ! " exclaimed the little man, growing angry. 
" I tell you this is valuable property. D' ye know who 

" Or ye might climb into the boot along vith it, sir — " 

" Do you know who I am? " 

" All aboard — all aboard for London ! " roared the 
guard, coming up at the instant. 

" Valter ! " cried Mottle-face. 

The "White. Lion" 157 

"Ay, ay, Joe?" 

" Gentleman's walise for the boot, Valter ; and sharp 's 
the vord!" 

" Ay, ay, Joe ! " and, as he spoke, the guard caught 
the valise from the protesting small gentleman with one 
hand, and the hat-box with the other, and, forthwith, van- 
ished. Hereupon the fussy gentleman, redder of face, and 
more angry than ever, clambered to the roof, still loudly 
protesting ; all of which seemed entirely lost upon Mottle- 
face, who, taking up the reins and settling his feet against 
the dash-board, winked a solemn, owl-like eye at Barnabas 
sitting beside him, and carolled a song in a husky voice* 
frequently interrupting himself to admonish the ostlers,. 
in this wise : — 

" ' She vore no 'at upon 'er 'ead, 
Nor a cap, nor a — ' 

" Bear the ' Markis ' up werry short, Sam, vill 'ee? 

" ' — dandy bonnet, 
But 'er 'air it 'ung all down 'er back, 
Like a — ' 

" Easy — easy now ! Hold on to them leaders, Dick !! 

' — bunch of carrots upon it. 
Ven she cried " sprats " in Vestminister, 

Oh! sich a sveet loud woice, sir, 
You could 'ear 'er all up Parlyment Street, 

And as far as Charing Cross, sir.' " 

" All aboard, all aboard for London ! " roars the guard, 
and roaring, swings himself up into the boot. 

" All right be'ind? " cries Mottle-face. 

" All right, Joe ! " sings the guard. 

" Then — leggo, there ! " cries Mottle-face. 

Back spring the ostlers, forward leap the four quivering 
horses, their straining hoofs beating out showers of sparks 
from the cobbles ; the coach lurches forward and is off, 
amid a waving of hats and pocket-handkerchiefs, and 
Barnabas, casting a farewell glance around, is immedi- 
ately fixed by the gaze of the " White Lion," as inquiring 
of eye and interrogatory of tail as ever. 

158 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Tall or short ? Dark or fair ? Will she kiss you — 
next time — will she, will she ? Will she even be glad to 
see you again — will she, now will she? " 

Whereupon Barnabas must needs become profoundly 
thoughtful all at once. 

" Now — I wonder ? " said he to himself. 


Long before the lights of the " White Lion " had vanished 
behind them, the guard blows a sudden fanfare on the horn,, 
such a blast as goes echoing merrily far and wide, and 
brings folk running to open doors and lighted windows 
to catch a glimpse of the London Mail ere it vanishes into 
the night; and so, almost while the cheery notes ring 
upon the air, Tenterden is behind them, and they are bowl- 
ing along the highway into the open country beyond. A 
wonderful country this, familiar and yet wholly new; a 
nightmare world where ghosts and goblins flit under a 
dying moon; where hedge and tree become monsters 
crouched to spring, or lift knotted arms to smite; while 
in the gloom of woods beyond, unimagined horrors lurk. 

But, bless you, Mottle-face, having viewed it all under 
the slant of his hat-brim, merely settles his mottled chin 
deeper in his shawls, flicks the off ear of the near leader 
with a delicate turn of the wrists, and turning his owl-like 
eye upon Barnabas, remarks that " It 's a werry fine 
night ! " But hereupon the fussy gentleman, leaning over, 
taps Mottle-face upon the shoulder. 

" Coachman," says he, " pray, when do you expect to 
reach The Borough, London? " 

" Vich I begs to re-mark, sir," retorts Mottle-face, set- 
tling his curly-brimmed hat a little further over his left 
eye, " vich I 'umbly begs to re-mark as I don't expect 
nohow ! " 

" Eh — what ! what ! you don't expect to — " 

" Vich I am vun, sir, as don't novise expect nothing 
consequent am never novise disapp'inted," says Mottle- 

160 The Amateur Gentleman 

face with a solemn nod ; " but, vind an' veather permittin', 
ve shall be at the ' George ' o' South'ark at five, or 
thereabouts ! " 

" Ha ! " says the fussy gentleman, " and what about my 
valise? is it safe? " 

" Safe, ah ! safe as the Bank o' England, unless ve should 
'appen to be stopped — " 

" Stopped? stopped, coachman? d' you mean — ? " 

" Ah ! stopped by Blue-chinned Jack o' Brockley, or 
Gallopin' Toby o' Tottenham, or — " 

" Eh — what ! what ! d' you mean there are highwaymen 
on this road? " 

" 'Ighvaymen ! " snorted Mottle-face, winking ponder- 
ously at Barnabas, " by Goles, I should say so, it fair 
bristles vith 'em." 

" God bless my soul ! " exclaimed the fussy gentleman 
in an altered tone, " but you are armed, of course? " 

" Armed? " repeated Mottle-face, more owl-like of eye 
than ever, " armed, sir, Lord love me yes ! my guard car- 
ries a brace o' barkers in the boot." 

" I 'm glad of that," said the fussy gentleman, " very ! " 

" Though," pursued Mottle-face, rolling his head 
heavily, " Joe ain't 'zactly what you might call a dead 
shot, nor yet a ex-pert, bein' blind in 'is off blinker, d' ye 

" Eh — blind, d' ye say — blind? " exclaimed the fussy 

" Only in 'is off eye," nodded Mottle-face, reassuringly, 
" t' other 'un 's as good as yours or mine, ven 'e ain't got 
a cold in it." 

" But this — this is an outrage ! " spluttered the fussy 
gentleman, " a guard blind in one eye ! Scandalous ! I 
shall write to the papers of this. But you — surely you 
carry a weapon too? " 

" A vepping? Ay, to be sure, sir, I 've got a blunder- 
bush, under this 'ere werry seat, loaded up to the muzzle 
wi' slugs too, — though it von't go off." 

" Won't — eh, what ? Won't go off? " 

The Coachman's Story 161 

" Not on no account, sir, vich ain't to be 'spected of it, 
seeing as it ain't got no trigger." 

" But — heaven preserve us ! why carry such a useless 
thing? " 

" Force of 'abit, sir ; ye see, I 've carried that theer old 
blunderbush for a matter of five-an'-twenty year, an' my 
feyther 'e carried it afore me." 

" But suppose we are attacked? " 

" Vich I begs to re-mark, sir, as I don't never suppose 
no such thing, like my feyther afore me. Brave as a lion 
were my feyther, sir, an' bred up to the road ; v'y, Lord ! 
'e were born vith a coachman's v'ip in 'is mouth — no, I 
mean 'is fist, as ye might say ; an' 'e were the boldest — " 

" But what 's your father got to do with it? " cried the 
fussy gentleman. " What about my valise ? " 

" Your walise, sir? we 'm a-coming to that ; " and here, 
once more, Mottle-face slowly winked his owl-like eye at 
Barnabas. " My feyther, sir," he continued, " my feyther, 
'e druv' the Dartford Mail, an' 'e were the finest v'ip as 
ever druv' a coach, Dartford or otherwise ; ' 'Andsorne 
'Arry ' 'e vere called, though v'y 'andsorne I don't know, 
seeing as 'is nose vere n't all it might ha' been, on account 
o' a quart pot; an' v'y 'Arry I don't know, seeing as 'is 
name vos Villiam ; but, ' 'Andsorne 'Arry ' 'e vere called, 
an' werry much respected 'e vere too. Lord! there vos 
never less than a dozen or so young bloods to see 'im start. 
Ah ! a great favorite 'e vere vith them, an' no error, an' 
werry much admired; admired? I should say so. They 
copied 'is 'at, they copied 'is boots, they copied 'is coat, 
they 'd a copied 'im inside as well as out if they could." 

" Hum ! " said the fussy gentleman. " Ha ! " 

" Oh, 'e vos a great fav'rite vith the Quality," nodded 
Mottle-face. " Ah ! it vos a dream to see 'im 'andle the 
ribbons, — an' spit ? Lord ! it vos a eddication to see my 
feyther spit, I should say so ! Vun young blood — a 
dook's son he vere too — vent an' 'ad a front tooth drawed 
a purpose, but I never 'eard as it done much good; bless 
you, to spit like my feyther you must be born to it ! " (here 

i 62 The Amateur Gentleman 

Mottle-face paused to suit the action to the word) . " And, 
mark you! over an' above all this, my feyther vere the 
boldest cove that ever — " 

" Yes, yes ! " exclaimed the fussy gentleman impatiently, 
" but where does my valise come in? " 

" Your walise, sir," said Mottle-face, deftly flicking the 
off wheeler, " your walise comes in — at the end, sir, and 
I 'm a-comin' to it as qvick as you '11 let me." 

" Hum ! " said the gentleman again. 

" Now, in my feyther's time," resumed Mottle-face se- 
renely, " the roads vos vorse than they are to-day, ah ! a 
sight vorse, an' as for 'ighvaymen — Lord ! they vos as 
thick as blackberries — blackberries? I should say so! 
Theer vos footpads be'ind every 'edge — gangs of 'em — 
an' 'ighvaymen on every 'eath — " 

" God bless my soul ! " exclaimed the fussy gentleman, 
" so many ? " 

" Many? " snorted Mottle-face, " there vos armies of 
'em. But my feyther, as I think I mentioned afore, vere 
the bravest, boldest, best-plucked coachman as ever sat on 
a box." 

" I hope it runs in the family." 

" Sir, I ain't one give to boastin', nor yet to blowin' my 
own 'orn, but truth is truth, and — it do ! " 

" Good ! " said the fussy gentleman, " very good ! " 

" Now the vorst of all these rogues vos a cove called 
Black Dan, a thieving, murdering, desprit wagabone as 
vere ewentually 'ung sky-'igh on Pembury '111 — " 

" Good ! " said the fussy gentleman louder than before, 
"good! Glad of it!" 

" An' yet," sighed Mottle-face, " 'e 'ad a werry good 
'eart — as * 'ighvaymen's 'earts go ; never shot nobody 
unless 'e could n't help it, an' ven 'e did, 'e alius made 
a werry neat job of it, an' polished 'em off nice an' 

" Hum ! " said the fussy gentleman, " still, I 'm glad 
he 's hanged." 

" Black Dan used to vork the roads south o' London, 

The Coachman's Story 163 

Kent an' Surrey mostly, conseqvent it vere a long time 
afore 'im an' my feyther met; but at last vun night, as 
my feyther vos driving along — a good fifteen mile an 
hour, for it vere a uncommon fine night, vith a moon, like 
as it might be now — " 

" Ah? " said the fussy gentleman. 

" An' presently 'e came to vere the road narrered a bit, 
same as it might be yonder — " 

" Ah ! " murmured the fussy gentleman again. 

" An' vith a clump o' trees beyond, nice, dark, shady 
trees — like it might be them werry trees ahead of us — " 

" Oh ! " exclaimed the fussy gentleman. 

" An' as 'e come up nearer an' nearer, all at vunce 'e 
made out a shadder in the shade o' them trees — " 

" Dear me ! " exclaimed the fussy gentleman uneasily, 
staring very hard at the trees in front. 

" A shadder as moved, although the leaves vos all dead 
still. So my feyther — being a "bold cove — reached down 
for 'is blunderbush — this werry same old blunderbush 
as I 've got under the box at this i-dentical minute,, 
(though its trigger vere n't broke then) but, afore 'e can 
get it out, into the road leaps a man on a great black 'oss 
— like it might be dead ahead of us, a masked man, an' 
vith a pistol in each fist as long as yer arm." 

" Good Lord ! " exclaimed the fussy gentleman. 

" 4 Stand an' deliver ! ' roars the masked man, so my 
feyther, cocking 'is heye at the pistols, pulls up, an' there 
'e is, starin' down at the 'ighvayman, an' the 'ighvayman 
staring up at 'im. ' You 're 'Andsome 'Arry, ain't you? * 
sez the 'ighvayman. ' Ay,' sez my feyther, c an' I guess 
you 're Black Dan.' ' Sure as you 're born ! ' sez Black 
Dan, ' I 've 'eered o' you before to-day, 'Andsome 'Arry,' 
sez 'e, ' an' meant to make your acquaintance afore this, 
but I 've been kep' too busy till to-night,' sez 'e, ; but 'ere 
ve are at last,' 'e sez, fi an' now — vot d' ye think o' that? ' 
sez 'e, an' pi'nts a pistol under my feyther's werry nose. 
Now, as I think I 've 'inted afore, my feyther vere a 
nat'rally bold, courage-ful cove, so 'e took a look at the 

164 The Amateur Gentleman 

murderous vepping, an' nodded. 6 It 's a pistol, ain't it? ' 
sez 'e. ' Sure as you 're settin' on that there box, it is,' 
sez Black Dan, ' an' 'ere 's another.' * An' werry good 
veppings too,' sez my feyther, 6 but vot might you be 
vanting vith me, Black Dan? ' ' First of all, I vants you 
to come down off that box,' sez Black Dan. ' Oh? ' sez 
my feyther, cool as a coocumber. ' Ah ! ' sez Black Dan. 
* Veref ore an' v'y ? ' enkvires my feyther, but Black Dan 
only vagged 'is veppings in my feyther's face, an' grinned 
under 'is mask. 6 1 vants you* so, 'Andsome 'Arry — come 
down ! ' sez 'e. Now I 've told you as my feyther vos the 
boldest — " 

" Yes, yes," cried the fussy gentleman. " Well? " 

" Veil, sir, my feyther stared at them murderous pistols, 
stared at Black Dan, an' being the werry gamest an' 
bravest cove you ever see, did n't 'esitate a second." 

" Well," cried the fussy gentleman, " what did he do 

" Do, sir — v'y I '11 tell you — my feyther — come 

" Yes, yes," said the fussy gentleman, as Mottle-face 
paused. " Go on, go on ! " 

" Go on v'eer, sir? " 

" Go on with your story. What was the end of it? " 

" V'y, that 's the end on it." 

" But it is n't ; you have n't told us what happened after 
he got down. What became of him after? " 

" Took the ' Ring o' Bells,' out Islington vay, an' drank 
hisself to death all quite nat'ral and reg'lar." 

" But that 's not the end of your story." 

" It vere the end o' my feyther though — an' a werry 
good end it vere, too." 

Now here there ensued a silence, during which the fussy 
gentleman stared fixedly at Mottle-face, who chirruped to 
the horses solicitously, and turned a serene but owl-like 
eye up to the waning moon. 

" And pray," said the fussy gentleman at length, very 
red in the face, and more indignant than ever, " pray 

The Coachman's Story 165 

what 's all this to do with my valise, I should like to 
know? " 

" So should I," nodded Mottle-face — " ah, that I 

" You — you told me," spluttered the fussy gentleman, 
in sudden wrath, " that you were coming to my valise." 

" An' so ve have," nodded Mottle-face, triumphantly. 
" Ve 're at it now ; ve 've been a-coming to that theer 
blessed walise ever since you come aboard." 

" Well, and what 's to be done about it ? " snapped the 
fussy gentleman. 

" Veil," said Mottle-face, with another ponderous wink 
at Barnabas, " if it troubles you much more, sir, if I vos 
you I should get a werry strong rope, and a werry large 
stone, and tie 'em together werry tight, an' drop that 
theer blessed walise into the river, and get rid of it that 

Hereupon the fussy gentleman uttered an inarticulate 
exclamation, and, throwing himself back in his seat, tugged 
his hat over his eyes, and was heard no more. 

But Mottle-face, touching up the near leader with deft 
and delicate play of wrist, or flicking the off wheeler, ever 
and anon gave vent to sounds which, though somewhat 
muffled, on account of coat-collar and shawl, were uncom- 
monly like a chuckle. Yet if this were so or no, Barnabas 
did not trouble to ascertain, for he was already in that 
dreamy state 'twixt sleeping and waking, drowsily con- 
scious of being borne on through the summer night, past 
lonely cottage and farmhouse, past fragrant ricks and 
barns, past wayside pools on whose still waters stars 
seemed to float — on and ever on, rumbling over bridges, 
clattering through sleeping hamlets and villages, up hill 
and down hill, on and ever on toward London and the 
wonders thereof. But, little by little, the chink and jingle 
of the harness, the rumble of the wheels, the rhythmic 
beat of the sixteen hoofs, all became merged into a drone 
that gradually softened to a drowsy murmur, and Barna- 
bas fell into a doze; yet only to be awakened, as it 

1 66 The Amateur Gentleman 

seemed to him, a moment later by lights and voices, and 
to find that they were changing horses once more. Where- 
upon Mottle-face, leaning over, winked his owl-like eye, 
and spoke in a hoarse, penetrating whisper : 

" Ten mile, sir, an' not a vord out o' old Walise so 
far ! " saying which he j erked his head towards the huddled 
form of the fussy gentleman, winked again, and turned 
away to curse the hurrying ostlers, albeit in a tone good- 
natured and jovial. • 

And so, betimes, off they went again, down hill and 
up, by rolling meadow and winding stream, 'neath the 
leafy arches of motionless trees, through a night pro- 
foundly still save for the noise of their own going, the 
crow of a cock, or the bark of a dog from some farm- 
yard. The moon sank and was gone, but on went the 
London Mail swirling through eddying mist that lay in 
every hollow like ghostly pools. Gradually the stars paled 
to the dawn, for low down in the east was a gray streak 
that grew ever broader, that changed to a faint pink, 
deepening to rose, to crimson, to gold — an ever brighten- 
ing glory, till at last up rose the sun, at whose advent 
the mists rolled away and vanished, and lo ! day was born. 

Yawning, Barnabas opened drowsy eyes, and saw that 
here and there were houses in fair gardens, yet as they 
went the houses grew thicker and the gardens more scant. 
And now Barnabas became aware of a sound, soft with 
distance, that rose and fell — a never-ceasing murmur ; 
therefore, blinking drowsily at Mottle-face, he inquired 
what this might be. 

" That, sir, that 's London, sir — cobble-stones, sir, 
cart-vheels, sir, and — Lord love you ! " — here Mottle- 
face leaned over and once more winked his owl-like eye 
— " but 'e ain't mentioned the vord ' walise ' all night, 
sir — so 'elp me ! " Having said which, Mottle-face vented 
a throaty chuckle, and proceeded to touch up his horses. 

And now as one in a dream, Barnabas is aware that 
they are threading streets, broad streets and narrow, and 
all alive with great wagons and country wains; on they 

The Coachman's Story 167 

go, past gloomy taverns, past churches whose gilded 
weather-cocks glitter in the early sunbeams, past crooked 
side-streets and dark alley-ways, and so, swinging sud- 
denly to the right, have pulled up at last in the yard of 
the " George." 

It is a great inn with two galleries one above another 
and many windows, and here, despite the early hour, a 
motley crowd is gathered. Forthwith Barnabas climbs 
down, and edging his way through the throng, presently 
iinds Peterby at his elbow. 

"Breakfast, sir?" 

" Bed, Peterby." 

" Very good — this way, sir." 

Thereafter, though he scarcely knows how, he finds 
himself following a trim-footed damsel, who, having shown 
him up a winding stair, worn by the tread of countless 
travellers, brings him to a smallish, dullish chamber, open- 
ing upon the lower gallery. Hereupon Barnabas bids her 
" good night," but, blinking in the sunlight, gravely 
changes it to " good morning." The trim-footed maid 
smiles, curtsies, and vanishes, closing the door behind 

Now upon the wall of the chamber, facing the bed, 
hangs the picture of a gentleman in a military habit with 
an uncomfortably high stock. He is an eagle-nosed gentle- 
man with black whiskers, and a pair of remarkably round 
wide-awake eyes, which stare at Barnabas as much as to 
say — 

" And who the devil are you, sir? " 

Below him his name and titles are set forth fully and 
wdth many flourishes, thus — 

Lieutenant-General the Right Honorable the Earl 
of Pomfroy, K.G., K.T.S., &c, &c, &c. 

So remarkably wide-awake is he, indeed, that it seems 
to drowsy Barnabas as if these round eyes wait to catch 
him unawares and follow him pertinaciously about the 
smallish, dullish chamber, Nevertheless Barnabas yawns, 

168 The Amateur Gentleman 

and proceeds to undress, which done, remembering he is 
in London, he takes purse and valuables and very care- 
fully sets them under his pillow, places Mr. Chichester's 
pistol on the small table conveniently near, and gets into 

Yet now, sleepy though he is, he must needs turn to 
take another look at the Honorable the Earl of Pomfroy, 
wonders idly what the three " &c.'s " may mean, admires 
the glossy curl of his whiskers, counts the medals and 
orders on his bulging breast, glances last of all at his 
eyes, and immediately becomes aware that they are curi- 
ously like those of the " White Lion " at Tenterden, in 
that they are plying him with questions. 

"Tall or short? dark or fair? Will she kiss you — 
next time, sir? Will she even be glad to see you again, 
you presumptuous young dog — will she — will she, con- 
found you? " 

" Ah! " sighed Barnabas. " Next time — I wonder! " 

So saying, he sighed again, once, twice, and with the 
third fell fast asleep, and dreamed that a certain White 
Lion, clad in a Lieutenant-General's uniform, and with 
a pair of handsome black whiskers, stood balancing him- 
self upon a single claw on the rail of the bed. 



" And now, Peterby," said Barnabas, pushing his chair 
from the breakfast table, " the first thing I shall require 
is — a tailor." 

" Very true, sir." 

" These clothes were good enough for the country, 
Peterby, but — " 

" Exactly, sir ! " answered Peterby, bowing. 

" Hum ! " said Barnabas, with a quick glance. " Though 
mark you," he continued argumentatively, — " they might 
be worse, Peterby; the fit is good, and the cloth is ex- 
cellent. Yes, they might be a great deal worse." 

" It is — possible, sir," answered Peterby, with another 
bow. Hereupon, having glanced at his solemn face, 
Barnabas rose, and surveyed himself, as well as he might, 
in the tarnished mirror on the wall. 

" Are they so bad as all that ? " he inquired. 

Peterby' s mouth relaxed, and a twinkle dawned in 
his eye. 

" As garments they are — serviceable, sir," said he, 
gravely, " but as clothes they — don't exist." 

" Why then," said Barnabas, " the sooner we get some 
that do, — the better. Do you know of a good tailor? " 

" I know them all, sir." 

"Who is the best — the most expensive?" 

" Stultz, sir, in Clifford Street ; but I should n't advise 
you to have him." 

"And why not?" 

" Because he is a tailor." 

" Oh? " said Barnabas. 
I mean that the clothes he makes are all stamped 


170 The Amateur Gentleman 

with his individuality, as it were, — their very excellence 
damns them. They are the clothes of a tailor instead of 
being simply a gentleman's garments." 

" Hum ! " said Barnabas, beginning to frown at this, 
" it would seem that dress can be a very profound subject, 

" Sir," answered Peterby, shaking his head, " it is a 
life study, and, so far as I know, there are only two 
people in the world who understand it aright; Beau 
Brummell was one, and, because he was the Beau, had 
London and the World of Fashion at his feet." 

" And who was the other? " 

Peterby took himself by the chin, and, though his mouth 
was solemn, the twinkle was back in his eye as he glanced 
at Barnabas. 

" The other, sir," he answered, " was one who, until 
yesterday, was reduced to the necessity of living upon 
poached rabbits." 

Here Barnabas stared thoughtfully up at the ceiling. 

"I remember you told me you were the best valet in 
the world," said he. 

" It is my earnest desire to prove it, sir." 

" And yet," said Barnabas, with his gaze still turned 
ceiling-wards, " I would have you — even more than this, 

"More, sir?" 

" I would have you, sometimes, forget that you are 
only ' the best valet in the world,' and remember that 
you are — a man : one in whom I can confide ; one who 
has lived in this great world, and felt, and suffered, and 
who can therefore advise me; one I may trust to in an 
emergency ; for London is a very big place, they tell me, 
and my friends are few — or none — and — do you under- 
stand me, Peterby? " 

" Sir," said Peterby in an altered tone, " I think I do." 

" Then — sit down, John, and let us talk." 

With a murmur of thanks Peterby drew up a chair and 
sat watching Barnabas with his shrewd eyes. 

A Valet — and a Man 171 

" You will remember/' began Barnabas, staring up at 
the ceiling again, " that when I engaged you I told you 
that I intended to — hum ! to — cut a figure in the 
fashionable world? " 

-" Yes, sir ; and I told you that, — after what happened 
in a certain wood, — it was practically impossible." 

" You mean because I thrashed a scoundrel? " 

" I mean because you knocked down a friend of the 
Prince Regent." 

" And is Camaby so very powerful, Peterby? " 

" Sir, he is — the Prince's friend ! He is also as great 
a Buck as George Hanger, as Jehu, or Jockey of Nor- 
folk, and as famous, almost, as the late Sir Maurice 

" Ah ! " said Barnabas. 

" And since the retirement of Mr. Brummell, he and 
the Marquis of Jerningham have to some extent taken 
his place and become the Arbiters of Fashion." 

"Oh!" said Barnabas. 

" And furthermore, sir, I would warn you that he is a 
dangerous enemy, said to be one of the best pistol-shots 
in England." 

" Hum," said Barnabas, " nevertheless, I mean to 
begin — " 

"To begin, sir?" 

" At once, Peterby." 

"But — how, sir?" 

" That is for you to decide, Peterby." 

"Me, sir?" 

" You, Peterby." 

Here Peterby took himself by the chin again, and looked 
at Barnabas with thoughtful eyes and gloomy brow. 

" Sir," said he, " the World of Fashion is a trivial 
world where all must appear trivial; it is a place where 
all must act a part, and where those are most regarded 
who are most affected; it is a world of shams and insin- 
cerity, and very jealously guarded." 

" So I have heard," nodded Barnabas. 

172 The Amateur Gentleman 

" To gain admission you must, first of all, have 

" Yes," said Barnabas. 

"Birth — if possible." 

" Hum," said Barnabas. 

" Wit and looks may be helpful, but all these are 
utterly useless unless you have what I may call the 
magic key." 

"And what is that?" 

" Notoriety, sir." 

"For what?" 

" For anything that will serve to lift you out of the 
ruck — to set you above the throng, — you must be one 
apart — an original." 

" Originality is divine! " said Barnabas. 

" More or less, sir," added Peterby, " for it is very 
easily achieved. Lord Alvanly managed it with apricot 
tarts ; Lord Petersham with snuff-boxes ; Mr. Mackinnon 
by his agility in climbing round drawing-rooms on the 
furniture; Jockey of Norfolk by consuming a vast num- 
ber of beef-steaks, one after the other ; Sir George Cassilis, 
who was neither rich nor handsome nor witty, by being 
insolent; Sir John Lade by dressing like a stagecoach- 
man, and driving like the devil; Sir George Skeffington 
by inventing a new color and writing bad plays ; and I 
could name you many others beside — " 

" Why then, Peterby — what of Sir Mortimer 
Carnaby? " 

" He managed it by going into the ring with Jack 
Fearby, the ' Young Ruffian,' and beating him in twenty- 
odd rounds for one thing, and winning a cross-country 
race — " 

" Ha ! " exclaimed Barnabas, " a race ! " and so he fell 
to staring up at the ceiling again. 

" But I fear, sir," continued Peterby, " that in making 
him your enemy, you have damned your chances at the 
very outset, as I told you." 

" A race ! " said Barnabas again, vastly thoughtful. 

A Valet — and a Man 173 

" And therefore," added Peterby, leaning nearer in his 
earnestness, " since you honor me by asking my advice, 
I would strive with all my power to dissuade you." 

" John Peterby — why? " 

" Because, in the first place, I know it to be impossible "' 

" I begin to think not, John." 

" Why, then, because — it 's dangerous ! " 

" Danger is everywhere, more or less, John." 

" And because, sir, because you — you — " Peterby 
rose, and stood with bent head and hands outstretched, 
" because you gave a miserable wretch another chance to 
live ; and therefore I — I would not see you crushed and 
humiliated. Ah, sir! I know this London, I know those 
who make up the fashionable world. Sir, it is a heartless 
world, cruel and shallow, where inexperience is made a 
mock of — generosity laughed to scorn ; where he is most 
respected who can shoot the straightest; where men 
seldom stoop to quarrel, but where death is frequent, 
none the less — and, sir, I could not bear — I — I 
would n't have you cut off thus — ! " 

Peterby stopped suddenly, and his head sank lower; 
hut as he stood Barnabas rose, and coming to him, took 
his hand into his own firm clasp. 

" Thank you, John Peterby," said he. " You may be 
the best valet in the world — I hope you are — but I 
know that you are a man, and, as a man, I tell you that 
I have decided upon going on with the adventure." 

" Then I cannot hope to dissuade you, sir? " 

"No, John!" 

" Indeed, I feared not." 

" It was for this I came to London, and I begin — 
at once." 

" Very good, sir." 

" Consequently, you have a busy day before you ; you 
see I shall require, first of all, clothes, John ; then — well, 
I suppose a house to live in — " 

"A — house, sir? " 

" In a fashionable quarter, and furnished, if possible." 

174 The Amateur Gentleman 

" A lodging, St. James's Street way, is less expensive* 
sir, and more usual." 

" Good ! " said Barnabas ; " to buy a house will be 
more original, at least. Then there must be servants, 
horses — vehicles — but you will understand — " 

" Certainly, sir." 

" Well then, John — go and get 'em." 

" Sir? " exclaimed Peterby. 

" Go now, John," said Barnabas, pulling out his purse* 
" this very moment." 

" But," stammered Peterby, " but, sir — you will — " 

" I shall stay here — I don't intend to stir out until 
you have me dressed as I should be — in ' clothes that 
exist,' John ! " 

" But you — don't mean to — to entrust — everything 
— to — me? " 

"Of course, John." 

" But sir — " 

" I have every confidence in your judgment, you see. 
Here is money, you will want more, of course, but this 
will do to go on with." 

But Peterby only stared from Barnabas to the money 
on the table, and back again. 

" Sir," said he at last, " this is — a great deal of 

"Well, John?" 

" And I would remind you that we are in London, 
sir, and that yesterday I — was a poacher — a man of no 
character — a — " 

" But to-day you are my valet, John. So take the 
money and buy me whatever I require, but a tailor first 
of all." 

Then, as one in a dream, Peterby took up the money, 
counted it, buttoned it into his pocket, and crossed to the 
door; but there he paused and turned. 

" Sir," said he slowly, " I '11 bring you a man who, 
though he is little known as yet, will be famous some 
day, for he is what I may term an artist in cloth. And 

A Valet — and a Man 175 

s ' ir » here Peterby's voice grew uncertain — " you shall 

find me worthy of your trust, so help me God! " Then he 
opened the door, went out, and closed it softly behind 
him. But as for Barnabas, he sat with his gaze fixed on 
the ceiling again, lost in reverie and very silent. After a 
while he spoke his thoughts aloud. 
" A race ! " said he. 



The coffee-room at the " George " is a longish, narrow- 
ish, dullish chamber, with a row of windows that look out 
upon the yard, — but upon this afternoon they looked at 
nothing in particular ; and here Barnabas found a waiter* 
a lonely wight who struck him as being very like the room 
itself, in that he, also, was long, and narrow, and dull, 
and looked out upon the yard at nothing in particular; 
and, as he gazed, he sighed, and tapped thoughtfully at 
his chin with a salt-spoon. As Barnabas entered, how- 
ever, he laid down the spoon, flicked an imaginary crumb 
from the table-cloth with his napkin, and bowed. 

" Dinner, sir? " he inquired in a dullish voice, and with 
his head set engagingly to one side, while his sharp eyes 
surveyed Barnabas from boots to waistcoat, from waist- 
coat to neckcloth, and stayed there while he drew out his 
own shirt-frill with caressing fingers, and coughed dis- 
approbation into his napkin. " Did you say dinner, sir? " 
he inquired again. 

" Thank you, no," answered Barnabas. 

" Perhaps cheese an' a biscuit might be nearer your 
mark, and say — a half of porter? " 

" I 've only just had breakfast," said Barnabas, aware 
of the waiter's scrutiny. 

" Ah ! " sighed the waiter, still caressing his shirt-frill, 
" you 're Number Four, I think — night coach? " 

" Yes." 

"From the country of course, sir?" 
Yes — from the country," said Barnabas, beginning 


Barnabas Buys a Horse 177 

to frown a little, " but how in the world did you guess 

" From your ' toot example,' sir, as they say in France 
— from your appearance, sir." 

" You are evidently a very observant man ! " said 

" Well," answered the waiter, with his gaze still riveted 
upon the neckcloth — indeed it seemed to fascinate him, 
'" well, I can see as far through a brick wall as most, — 
there ain't much as I miss, sir." 

" Why, then," said Barnabas, " you may perhaps have 
iioticed a door behind you? " 

The waiter stared from the neckcloth to the door and 
back again, and scratched his chin dubiously. 

" Door, sir — yessir ! " 

" Then suppose you go out of that door, and bring 
me pens, and ink, and paper." 


" Also the latest newspapers." 

" Yessir — certainly, sir ; " and with another slight, 
though eloquent cough into his napkin, he started off 
upon his errand. Hereupon, as soon as he was alone, 
Barnabas must needs glance down at that offending neck- 
cloth, and his frown grew the blacker. 

" Now, I wonder how long Peterby will be? " he said 
to himself. But here came the creak of the waiter's boots, 
and that observant person reappeared, bearing the vari- 
ous articles which he named in turn as he set them on 
the table. 

"A bottle of ink, sir; pens and writing-paper, sir; 
and the Gazette." 

" Thank you," said Barnabas, very conscious of his 
neckcloth still. 

" And now, sir," here the waiter coughed into his nap- 
kin again, " now — what will you drink, sir ; shall we 
say port, or shall we make it sherry?" 

" Neither," said Barnabas. 

" Why, then, we 'ave some rare old burgundy, sir — 

178 The Amateur Gentleman 

'ighly esteemed by connysoors and (cough again) other 
— gentlemen." 

" No, thank you." 

" On the other 'and — to suit 'umbler tastes, we 
'ave," — here the waiter closed his eyes, sighed, and 
shook his head — " ale, sir, likewise beer, small and 

" Nothing, thank you," said Barnabas ; " and you will 
observe the door is still where it was." 

" Door, sir, yessir — oh, certainly, sir ! " said he, and 
stalked out of the room. 

Then Barnabas set a sheet of paper before him, selected 
a pen, and began to write as follows : — 

" George Inn, 

" Borough. 
"June 2, 18—. 

" To Viscount Devenham, 

" My Dear Dick, — I did not think to be asking favors 
of you so soon, but — " (here a blot). 

" Confound it ! " exclaimed Barnabas, and taking out 
his penknife he began to mend the spluttering quill. But, 
in the midst of this operation, chancing to glance out of 
the window, he espied a long-legged gentleman with a 
remarkably fierce pair of whiskers ; he wore a coat of ultra- 
fashionable cut, and stood with his booted legs wide apart, 
staring up at the inn from under a curly-brimmed hat. 
But the hat had evidently seen better days, the coat was 
frayed at seam and elbow, and the boots lacked polish; 
yet these small blemishes were more than offset by his 
general dashing, knowing air, and the untamable ferocity 
of his whiskers. As Barnabas watched him, he' drew a 
letter from the interior of his shabby coat, unfolded it 
with a prodigious flourish, and began to con it over. 
Now, .all at once, Barnabas dropped knife and pen, thrust 
a hand into his own breast and took thence a letter also, 
at sight of which he straightway forgot the bewhiskered 
gentleman ; for what he read was this : — 

Barnabas Buys a Horse 179 

" Dearest and Best of Sisters, — Never, in all this 
world was there such an unfortunate, luckless dog as I 
— - were it not for your unfailing love I should have 
made an end of it all, before now. 

" I write this letter to beg and implore you to grant 
me another interview, anywhere and at any time you may 
name. Of course you will think it is more money I want 
— so I do; I 'm always in need of it, and begin to fear 
I always shall be. But my reasons for wishing this meet- 
ing are much more than this — indeed, most urgent! 
(this underlined). I am threatened by a grave danger 
(this doubly underlined). I am at my wit's end, and 
only 3'ou can save me, Cleone — you and you only. 
Chichester has been more than kind, indeed, a true friend 
to me! (this also underlined). I would that you could 
feel kinder towards him. 

" This letter must reach you where none of your 
guardian's spies can intercept it ; your precious Captain 
has always hated me, damn him! (this scratched out). 
Oh, shame that he, a stranger, should ever have been 
allowed to come between brother and sister. I shall 
journey down to Hawkhurst to see you and shall stay 
about until you can contrive to meet me. Chichester 
may accompany me, and if he should, try to be kinder 
to your brother's only remaining friend. How different 
are our situations ! you surrounded by every luxury, 
while I — yet heaven forbid I should forget my manhood 
and fill this letter with my woes. But if you ever loved 
your unfortunate brother, do not fail him in this, Cleone. 
" Your loving, but desperate, 


Having read this effusion twice over, and very care- 
fully, Barnabas was yet staring at the last line with its 
scrawling signature, all unnecessary curls and flourishes, 
when he heard a slight sound in the adjacent box, and 
turning sharply, was just in time to see the top of a 
hat ere it vanished behind the curtain above the partition. 

180 The Amateur Gentleman 

Therefore he sat very still, waiting. And lo ! after the 
lapse of half a minute, or thereabouts, it reappeared, 
slowly and by degrees — a beaver hat, something the 
worse for wear. Slowly it rose up over the curtain — 
the dusty crown, the frayed band, the curly brim, and 
eventually a pair of bold, black eyes that grew suddenly 
very wide as they met the unwinking gaze of Barnabas. 
Hereupon the lips, as yet unseen, vented a deep sigh, and, 
thereafter, uttered these words: 

" The same, and yet, curse me, the nose ! — y-e-s, the 
nose seems, on closer inspection, a trifle too aquiline, 
perhaps ; and the chin — y-e-s, decidedly a thought too 
long ! And yet — ! " Here another sigh, and the face 
rising into full view, Barnabas recognized the bewhiskered 
gentleman he had noticed in the yard. 

" Sir," continued the stranger, removing the curly- 
brimmed hat with a flourish, and bowing over the partition 
as well as he could, " you don't happen to be a sailor — 
Royal Navy, do you? " 

" No, sir," answered Barnabas. 

" And your name don't happen to be Smiwle, does it ? " 

" No, sir," said Barnabas again. 

" And yet," sighed the bewhiskered gentleman, regard- 
ing him with half-closed eyes, and with his head very 
much on one side, " in spite of your nose, and in spite 
of your chin, you are the counterpart, sir, the facsimile 
— I might say the breathing image of a — ha ! — of a 
nephew of mine ; noble youth, handsome as Adonis — 
Royal Navy — regular Apollo ; went to sea, sir, years 
ago ; never heard of more ; tragic, sir — devilish tragic, 
on my soul and honor." 

" Very ! " said Barnabas ; " but — " 

" Saw you from the yard, sir, immediately struck by 
close resemblance ; flew here, borne on the wings of hope, 
sir ; you 're quite sure your name ain't Smiwle, are you ? " 

" Quite sure." 

" Ah, well — mine is ; Digby Smiwle, familiarly known 
as ' Dig,' at your service, sir. Stranger to London, sir? " 

Barnabas Buys a Horse 181 

u Yes," said Barnabas. 

" Ha ! Bad place, London, sink of iniquity ! Full of 
rogues, rascals, damn scoundrels, — by heaven, sharks, 
sir ! confounded cannibals, by George ! — eat you alive. 
Stranger myself, sir; just up from my little place in 
Worcestershire — King's Heath, — know it, perhaps? 
No? Charming village! rural, quiet; mossy trees, sir; 
winding brooks, larks and cuckoos carolling all day long. 
Sir, there has been a Smivvle at the Hall since before 
the Conquest! Fine old place, the Hall; ancient, sir, 
hoary and historic — though devilish draughty, upon my 
soul and honor ! " 

Here, finding that he still held the open letter in his 
hand, Barnabas refolded it and thrust it into his pocket, 
while Mr. Smivvle smilingly caressed his whiskers, and 
his bold, black eyes darted glances here and there, from 
Barnabas mending his pen to the table, from the table 
to the walls, to the ceiling, and from that altitude they 
dropped to the table again, and hovered there. 

" Sir," said Barnabas without looking up, " pray ex- 
cuse the blot, the pen was a bad one; I am making 
another, as you see." 

Mr. Smivvle started, and raised his eyes swiftly. 
Stared at unconscious Barnabas, rubbed his nose, felt 
for his whisker, and, having found it, tugged it viciously. 

" Blot, sir ! " he exclaimed loudly ; " now, upon my 
soul and honor — what blot, sir?" 

" This," said Barnabas, taking up his unfinished letter 
to the Viscount — " if you 've finished, we may as well 
destroy it," and forthwith he crumpled it into a ball, and 
tossed it into the empty fireplace. 

" Sir ! " exclaimed Mr. Smivvle, louder than before, 
" 'pon my soul, now, if you mean to insinuate — " Here 
he paused, staring at Barnabas, and with his whiskers 
fiercer than ever. 

"Well, sir? " inquired Barnabas, still busily trimming 
his quill. 

Mr. Smivvle frowned; but finding Barnabas was quite 

182 The r ^mateur Geritlem^i 

unconscious of it, shook his head, felt for his whiske* 
again, found it, tugged it, and laughed jovially. 

"Sir," said he, '" you are a devilish sharp fellow, and 


damnably - — i curse me if I don't. That blot, sir, shall be 
another bond between us, for I have conceived a great 
regard for you. The astounding likeness between you 
and one who — was snatched away in the flower of his 
youth — draws me, sir, draws me most damnably; for 
I have a heart, sir, a heart — why should I disguise it? ° 
Here Mr. Smivvle tapped the third left-hand button of 
his coaft. " And so long as that organ continues its 
functions, you may count Digby Smivvle your friend, 
and at his little place in Worcestershire he will be proud 
to show you the hospitality of a Smivvle. Meanwhile,' 
sir, seeing we are both strangers in a strange place, 
supposing we — join forces and, if you are up for the 
race, I propose — " 

" The race! " exclaimed Barnabas, looking up suddenly. 

"Yes, sir, devilish swell affair, with gentlemen to ride, 
and Royalty to look on — a race of races ! London's 
agog with it, all the clubs discuss it, coffee houses ring 
with it, inns and taverns clamor with it — soul and honor, 
betting — everywhere. The odds slightly favor Sir Morti- 
mer Carnaby's ' Clasher ' ; but Viscount Devenham's 
'Moonraker ' is well up. Then there 's Captain Slingsby's 
'Rascal,' Mr. Tressider's 'Pilot, 5 Lord Jerningham's 
'Clinker,' and five or six others. But, as I tell you, 
'Clasher' and 'Moonraker' carry the money, though 
many knowing ones are sweet on the 'Rascal.' But, 
surely, you must have heard of the great steeplechase: 
Devilish ugly course, they tell me." 

" The Viscount spoke of it, I remember," fcaid Barnabas, 
absently. // " 

" Viscount, sir -— not. — Viscount Devenham? '* ! 

" Yes " 

JBarmbas Buys a Horse 183 

Here Mr. Smivvle whistled softly, tpok off the curly- 
brimmed hat, looked at it, and put it on again at a 
more rakish angle than ever. ot isdU> 

"Wig Qidcft't haj^sHtcfiift^Bi^ftn ^y name, did he — 
^tniyyJje^^i^ ^ifg ? i>aiosbn£H ! zzsdoub-ihiB hb za bt/otq 
og" , lfe>«Jog iud ;sm hVi ebiow <JimmBb f rfo — z& -- 
noq*^^ Dig> perbaps? " ,7 baa t guqm^IO jbfigniii baa 

: . : . "Remarkable — hum! " exclaimed Mr. Smivvle, shak- 
iflgtebis head;,t"-ib»fc Ivfr.'-^eady to lay youoadds that he 
did speak of my friend Barry. I may say my bosom com- 
panion — a Mr. Ronald.'Barrymame, sir." , ;. 

" Ronald Barry maine," repeated Barnabas, trying the 
new point of his pen upon his thumb-nail, yet conscious 
of the speaker's keen glance, none, the less. " No, he 
did not." t __ ^daataO israiiioM ii8 iadi lomui 

" Astounding ! " exclaimed Mr. Smivvle. ' doo*! M 
ebw Wb$d$<*Mamsi ioa\ sdt iud ;ii 8 .-nueaslq di'M 

1 - Because my friend Barrymaine was. particularly inti- 
mate with his Lordship, before he fell among the Jews, 
dammem ! My friend Barry, sir, was a dasher, by George ! 
a regular red-hot tearer, by heaven ! a Go, sir, a Tippy, 
a bang up Blood, and would be still if it were not for 
the Jews — curse 'em! " « ^9oaiiS[ srit 

" And is Mr. Barrymaine still a friend of yours? " 

At this Mr. Smivvle took off; his hat again, clapped it 
to his bosom, and bowed. i£oft\B aiomui jnam 

" Sir," said he, " for weal or woe, in shadow or shine, 
the hand of a Smivvle, once given, is given [for good." 

As he spoke, Mr. Smivvle stretched out the member 
in question, which Barnabas observed was none too 

©BeasiKiqjsd uot oh . lo -gaiiaDqz iuK 

" The hand of a Smivvle, sir," pursued that gentle- 
man, " the hand of a Smivvle is never withdrawn either 
on account of adversity, plague, poverty, pestilence, or 
Jews ~4 dammem ! As for my friend Barrymaine ; . but, 
perhaps, you are acquainted with him, sir.' v j il6 [[ 90 -, 
" No," answered Barnabas. sg-ino ,.. 

184 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Ah ! a noble fellow, sir ! Heroic youth, blood, birth, 
and breeding to his finger-tips, sir. But he is, above all 
else, a brother to a — a sister, sir. Ah ! what a creature ! 
Fair, sir? fair as the immortal Helena! Proud, sir? 
proud as an arch-duchess! Handsome, sir? handsome, sir, 
as — as — oh, dammit, words fail me; but go, sir, go 
and ransack Olympus, and you could n't match her, 'pon 
my soul! Diana, sir? Diana was a frump! Venus? 
Venus was a dowdy hoyden, by George! and as for the 
ox-eyed Juno, she was a positive cow to this young 
beauty ! And then — her heart, sir ! " 

" Well, what of it? " inquired Barnabas, rather sharply. 

" Utterly devoted — beats only for my friend — " 

" You mean her brother? " 

" I mean her brother, yes, sir ; though I have heard a 
rumor that Sir Mortimer Carnaby — " 

" Pooh ! " said Barnabas. 

" With pleasure, sir ; but the fact remains that it was 
partly on his account, and partly because of another, that 
she was dragged away from London — " 

"What other?" 

"Well, let us say — H.R.H." 

" Sir," inquired Barnabas, frowning, " do you mean 
the Prince? " 

" Sir," said Mr. Smivvle, with a smiling shake of the 
head, " I prefer the letters H.R.H. Anyhow, there were 
many rumors afloat at the time, and her guardian — a 
regular, tarry old sea dog, by George — drags her away 
from her brother's side, and buries her in the country, 
like the one-armed old pirate he is, eye to her money 
they tell me ; regular old skinflint ; bad as a Jew — damn 
him! But speaking of the race, sir, do you happen to 

— know anything? " 

" I know that it is to be run on the fifteenth of July," 
said Barnabas abstractedly. 

" Oh, very good ! " exclaimed Mr. Smiwle — " ha ! ha ! 

— excellent ! knows it is to be run on the fifteenth ; very 
facetious, curse me! But, joking apart, sir, have you 

Barnabas Buys a Horse 185 

ai\y private knowledge? The Viscount, now, did he hap- 
pen to tell you anything that — " 

But, at this juncture, they were interrupted by a 
sudden tumult in the yard outside, a hubbub of eht/uts, 
the ring and stamp of hoofs, and, thereafter, a solitary 
voice upraised in oaths and curses. Barnabas sprang to 
his feet, and hurrying out into the yard, beheld a powerfV 
black horse that reared and plunged in the grip of two 
struggling grooms; in an adjacent corner was the late 
rider, who sat upon a pile of stable-sweepings and swore, 
while, near by, perched precariously upon an upturned 
bucket, his slim legs stretched out before him, was a 
young exquisite — a Corinthian from top to toe — who 
rocked with laughter, yet was careful to keep his head 
rigid, so as to avoid crushing his cravat, a thing of won- 
der which immediately arrested the attention of Barnabas, 
because of its prodigious height, and the artful arrange- 
ment of its voluminous folds. 

.* " Oh, dooce take me," he exclaimed in s, faint voice, 
clapping a hand to his side, " I '11 be shot if I saw any- 
thing neater, no, not even at Sadler's Wells ! Captain 
Slingsby of the Guards in his famous double somersault* 
Oh, damme, Sling ! I 'd give a hundred guineas to see 
you do it again — I would, dooce take me ! " 

But Captain Slingsby continued to shake his fist at tho 
great, black horse, and to swear with unabated fervor. 

" You black devil ! " he exclaimed, " you four-hgged 
imp of Satan ! So, you 're up to your tricks again, are 
you? Well, this is the last chance you shall have to 
break my neck, b'gad ! I 'm done with you for a — " 

Here the Captain became extremely fluent, and redder 
of face than ever, as he poured forth a minute description 
of the animal; he cursed him from muzzle to crupper 
and back again; he damned his eyes, he damned his legs, 
individually and collectively, and reviled him, through 
sire and dam, b*>ck to the Flood. 

Meanwhile Barnabas turned from raging Two-legs to 
superbly wrathful Four-legs; viewed him from sweeping 

1 8 6 The Ahateur Gentleman 

tail' to lofty crest; observed his rolling eye and quivering 
nostril; took careful heed of his broad chest, slender legs, 
and powerful, sloping haunches with keen, appraising 
2yes, that were the eyes of knowledge and immediate 
desire. And so, from disdainful Four-legs he turned back 
to ruffled Two-legs, who, having pretty well sworn him- 
self out by this time, rose gingerly to his feet, felt an 
elbow with gentle inquiry, tenderly rubbed a muddied knee, 
and limped out from the corner. 

Now, standing somewhat apart, was a broad-shouldered 
man, a rough-looking customer in threadbare clothes, 
whose dusty boots spoke of travel. He was an elderly 
man, for the hair, beneath the battered hat, was gray, 
and he leaned wearily upon a short stick. Very still he 
stood, and Barnabas noticed that he kept his gaze bent 
ever upon the horse; nor did he look away even when 
the Captain began to speak again. 

" B'gad! " exclaimed the Captain, " I '11 sell the brute 
to the highest bidder. You, Jerningham, you seem devil- 
ish amused, b'gad! If you think you can back him he's 
yours for what you like. Come, what 's the word? "~ 

"Emphatically no, my dear, good Sling," laughed 
the young Corinthian, shaking his curly head. " I don't 
mean to risk this most precious neck of mine until the 
fifteenth, dear fellow, dooce take me if I do!" 

"Why then, b'gad! I '11 sell him to any one fool 
enough to bid. Come now," cried the Captain, glancing 
round the yard, " who '11 buy him? B'gad! who '11 give 
ten pounds for an accursed brute that nobody can possibly 
ride? "~~ i; ^ uo\ ffiiw 9 

"I will!" said Barnabas. 

" Fifteen, sir ! " cried the shabby man on the instant, 
with his gaze still on the horse. 

" Twenty ! " said Barnabas, like an echo. 

"Twenty-five, sir!" retorted the shabby man. 

" Hey? " cried the Captain, staring from one to the 
other. "What 's all this? B'gad! I say stop a bit — ■ 
wait a minute ! Bob, lend me your bucket." 

Barnabas Buys a Horse 187 

Hereupon the Corinthian obligingly vacating that 
article, Captain Slingsby incontinent stood upon it, and 
from that altitude began to harangue the yardj nourish- 
ing his whip after the manner of an auctioneer's hammer. 

" Now here you are, gentlemen ! " he cried. " I offer 
you a devilishly ugly, damnably vicious brute, b'gad ! I 
offer you a four-legged demon, an accursed Beast that 
nobody can ever hope to ride-- a regular terror, curse 
me! Killed one groom already; will probably kill another. 
Now, what is your price for this lady's pet? Look him 
over and bid accordingly." 

" Twenty-five pound, sir," said the shabby man. 

"Thirty! " said Barnabas. 

"Thirty-one, sir." Ism^S bi&s 

" Fifty ■!." said Barnabas. 

" Fifty !" cried the Captain, flourishing his whip. 
"Fifty pounds from the gentleman in the neckcloth' — 
fifty 's the figure. Any more? Any advance on fifty? 
What, all done! Won't any one go another pound for 
a beast fit only for the knacker's yard? Oh, Gad, 
gentlemen, why this reticence? Are you all done? " 

" I can't go no higher, sir," said the shabby man, shak- 
ing Kis gray head sadly. 

" Then going at fifty — at fifty ! Going ! Going ! 
Gone, b'gad! Sold to the knowing young cove in the 
neckcloth." . . . * ■ Q '* 

Now, at the repetition of this word, Barnabas began 
to frown. 3 ' f ! ii- 

" And b'gad ! " exclaimed the Captain, stepping down 
from the bucket, " a devilish bad bargain'^ V got,- too.* 

" That, sir, remains to be seen," said'Barnabas, shortly. 

^ Why, what do you mean to do with the brute? '^ " 

" Ride hhn.'£ « bs-rn I fan sen jjot aomS " 

" Do you, b'gad? " "^ji'dlrtr si ? uov if — 

" I^?^ 8 ^S 89 ^ 9 8 ^ <boz&[3i wbJ 9i£jjp« rn^m orIT 

" Lay you ten guineas you don't sit him ten minutes.' 5 

"Done! " said Barnabas, buttoning up his coat. 

But now, glancing rounds hel saw th$A <the shabby frrafc 

1 88 The Amateur Gentleman 

had turned away, and was trudging heavily out of the 
yard, therefore Barnabas hastened after him, and touched 
him upon the arm. 

" I 'm sorry you were disappointed," said he. 

" Is it about the 'oss you mean, sir? " inquired the 
shabby man, touching his hat. 

" Yes." 

" Why, it do come a bit 'ard-like to ha J lost 'im, sir, 
arter waiting my chance so long. But fifty guineas be a 
sight o' money to a chap as be out of a job, though 'e 's 
dirt-cheap at the price. There ain't many 'osses like 
'im., sir." 

" That was why I should have bought him at ten times 
the price," said Barnabas. 

The man took off his hat, ran his stubby fingers through 
his grizzled hair, and stared hard at Barnabas. 

" Sir," said he, " even at that you could n't ha' done 
tf rong. He ain't a kind 'oss — never 'aving been under- 
stood, d' ye see ; but take my word for it, 'e 's a wonder, 
ihat 'oss ! " 

" You know him, perhaps? " 

" Since 'e were foaled, sir. I was stud-groom; but 
/oiks think I 'm too old for the job, d' ye see, sir? " 

" Do you think he 'd remember you ? " 

"Ay, that 'e would ! * 

**' Do you suppose — look at him ! — do you suppose 
|ou could hold him quieter than those ostlers?" 

" 'Old 'im, sir ! " exclaimed the man, throwing back his 
shoulders. " 'Old 'im — ah, that I could ! Try me ! " 

" I will," said Barnabas. " How would forty shillings 
a week suit you? " 

" Sir? " exclaimed the old groom, staring. 

" Since you need a job, and I need a groom, I '11 have 
you — if you 're willing." 

The man's square jaw relaxed, his eyes glistened; then 
all at once he shook his head and sighed. 

" Ah ! sir," said he, " ah : young sir, my 'air 's gray, 
an' I 'm not so spry as I was — r^obody wants a man as 

Barnabas Buys a Horse 189 

old as I be, and, seeing as you 've got the 'oss, you ain't 
got no call to make game o' me, young sir. You 've got 
— the 'oss!" 

Now at this particular moment Captain Slingsby took 
it into his head to interrupt them, which he did in char- 
acteristic fashion. 

" Hallo ! — hi there ! " he shouted, flourishing his whip. 

" But I 'm not making game of you," said Barnabas, 
utterly unconscious of the Captain, at least his glance 
never wavered from the eager face of the old groom. 

" Hallo, there ! " roared the Captain, louder than ever. 

" And to prove it," Barnabas continued, " here is a 
guinea in advance," and he slipped the coin into the old 
groom's lax hand. 

" Oh, b'gad," cried the Captain, hoarsely, " don't you 
hear me, you over there ? Hi ! you in the neckcloth ! " 

" Sir," said Barnabas, turning sharply and frowning 
again at the repetition of the word, " if you are pleased 
to allude to me, I would humbly inform you that my 
name is Beverley." 

" Oh ! " exclaimed the Captain, " I see — young Bever- 
ley, son of old Beverley — and a devilish good name too ! " 

" Sir, I 'm vastly relieved to hear you say so," retorted 
Barnabas, with a profound obeisance. Then taking out 
his purse, he beckoned his new groom to approach. 

" What is your name? " he inquired, as he counted 
out a certain sum. 

" Gabriel Martin, sir." 

" Then, Martin, pray give the fellow his monev." 


" I mean the red-faced man in the dirty jacket, Martin," 
added Barnabas. 

The old groom hesitated, glanced from the Captain's 
scowling brow to the smiling lips of Barnabas. 

" Very good, sir," said he, touching his shabby hat, 
and taking the money Barnabas held out, he tendered it 
to the Captain, who, redder of face than ever, took it. 
stared from it to Barnabas, and whistled. 

1 90 The Amateur Gentleman 

^ ^m,fmm^r°M"em^med, "damme, if I don't 
believe the fellow means to be offensive ! " 

" If so, sir, the desire would seem, to be mutual ! " re- 
turned Barnabas, inaraora *ib1i: 

" Yes,b'gad! I really believe he means to be offen- 
sive ! " repeated the Captain, nodding as he pocketed the 
money. ! S*"/ 

" Of that you are the best judge, sir," Barnabas re- 
torted. Captain Slingsby whistled again, frowned, and 
tossing aside his whip, proceeded to button up his coat. 

" Why then," said he, " we must trouble this offensive 
person to apologize or — or put 'em up, begad ! " 

But hereupon the young Corinthian (who had been 
watching them languidly through the glass he carried at 
the end of a broad ribbon) stepped forward, though 
languidly, and laid a white and languid hand upon the 
Captain's arm. '1 ' 

"No, no, Sling," said he in a die-away voice, " he V a 
doocid fine '* bit of stuff ' — look at those shoulders ! and 
quick on his pins — remark those legs ! No, no, my dear 
fellow, remember your knee, you hurt it, you know — fell 
on it when you were thrown, — must be doocid painful! 
Must let me take your place. Shall insist ! Pleasure 's 
M mine, sure you. 

" Never, Jerningham ! " fumed the Captain, " not to 
be thought of, my dear Bob — no begad, he 's mine ; why 
jou heard him, he — he positively called me a — a 
fellow • " 

" So you are, Sling, murmured the Corinthian, sur- 
veying Barnabas with an approving eye, " dev'lish dashing 
fellow, an * out-and-outer' with the ' ribbons ' — fiddle it 
with any one, by George, but no good with your mauleys, 
damme if you are! Resides,; there 's your knee, you know 
—7- don't forget your knee •— j r • ., • r 

" Curse my knee "' " a " elM f °"°^ V* 

^ n , . t .JUO'bfeH ?.rdtmit\fl 9 Ysnom otii sfi 
," Certainly, dear tellow, but — 77 ' 

'tc+LJr , ~ ■ , ' y : '" ■' r .•■ib'31 .oaw,»Q; , 

" My knee s sound enough to teacn this countryman 
manners, b gad; you heard him say my coat was nltnyr 

Barnabas Buys a Horse 191 

" So it is, Sling, my boy, devilish dirty ! So are your 
knees — look at 'em! But if you will dismount head over 
heels into a muck-heap, my dear fellow, what the dooce 

n „ m iVj,x 'i J8UO 3L1J lO 

can you expect r lne Captain merely swore. 

" Doocid annoying, of course," his friend continued, 
I mean your knee, you know, you can hardly walk, and 

this country fellow looks a regular, bang up milling cove. 

Let me. have a try at him, do now. Have a little thought 

for others, and don't be so infernally selfish, Sling, my 

As he spoke, the Corinthian took off his hat, which he 
forced into the Captain's unwilling grasp, drew off. his very 
tight-fitting coat, which he tossed over the Captain's un- 
willing arm, and, rolling' back his snowy shirt-sleeves, 
turned to Barnabas with, shining eyes and smiling lips. 

" Sir," said he, " seeing my friend's knee is not quite 
all it should be, perhaps you will permit me to take his 
place, pleasure 's entirely mine, 'sure jou. Shall we have 
it here, or would you prefer the stables — - more com- 
iortable, perhaps - — stables r ,«» , .*J A* 

Now while Barnabas hesitated, somewhat taken aback 
by this unlooked-for turn of events, as luck would have 
it, there came a diversion. A high, yellow-wheeled curricle 
swung suddenly into the yard, and its two foam-spattered 
bays were pulled up in masterly fashion, but within a 
yard of the great, black horse, which "immediately began 
to rear and plunge again ; whereupon the bays began to 
snort, and dance, and tremble (like the thoroughbreds 
they were), and all was uproar and confusion; in the 
midst of which, down from the rumble of the dusty curricle 
dropped a dusty and remarkably diminutive groom, who, 
running to the leader's head, sprang up and, grasping 
the bridle, hung there manfully, rebuking the animal, 
meanwhile, in a voice astonishingly hoarse and gruff for 
one of his tender years. / ., 

" Dooce take me," exclaimed the Corinthian, feeling for 
his eye-glass, "it's DevenhanijP' • J" T + { r ' * r 

"Why, Dicky!" cried the Captain, "where have you 

1 92 The Amateur Gentleman 

sprung from? " and, forgetful of Barnabas, they hurried 
forward to greet the Viscount, who, having beaten some 
of the dust from his driving-coat, sprang down from his 
high seat and shook hands cordially. 

Then, finding himself unnoticed, Barnabas carefully 
loosed his neckerchief, and drew out the ends so that 
they dangled in full view. 

" I 've been rusticating with my ' Roman,' " the Viscount 
was proceeding to explain, keeping his eye upon his horses, 
" but found him more Roman than usual — Gad, I did 
that! Have 'em well rubbed down, Milo," he broke off 
suddenly, as the bays were led off to the stables, " half a 
bucket of water apiece, no more, mind, and — say, a dash 
of brandy ! " 

" Werry good, m' lud ! " This from Milo of Crotona, 
portentous of brow and stern of eye, as he overlooked 
the ostlers who were busily unbuckling straps and traces. 

" My ' Roman,' as I say," continued the Viscount, 
*' was rather more so than usual, actually wanted me to 
give up the Race ! After that of course I had to be firm 
with him, and we had a slight — ah, misunderstanding in 
consequence — fathers, as a rule, are so infernally paren- 
tal and inconsiderate! Met Carnaby on the road, raced 
him for a hundred ; ding-dong all the way, wheel and wheel 
to Bromley, though he nearly ditched me twice, confound 
him! Coming down Mason's Hill I gave him my dust, 
up the rise he drew level again. ' Ease up for the town, 
Carnaby,' says I, ' Be damned if I do ! ' says he, so at it 
we went, full tilt. Gad! to see the folk jump! Carnaby 
drove like a devil, had the lead to Southend, but, mark 
you, his whip was going ! At Catford we were level again. 
At Lewisham I took the lead and kept it, and the last 
I saw of him he was cursing and lashing away at his 
cattle, like a brute. Carnaby 's a devilish bad loser, I 've 
noticed, and here I am. And oh ! by the way — he 's got 
a devil of an eye, and a split lip. Says he fell out of 
his curricle, but looks as though some one had — thrashed 

Barnabas Buys a Horse 193 

" But my very dear fellow ! " exclaimed the Corinthian, 
" thrash Carnaby? pooh! " 

" Never in the world ! " added the Captain. 

" Hum ! " said the Viscount, feeling a tender part of 
his own ribs thoughtfully, " ha ! But, hallo, Jerningham ! 
have you been at it too? Why are you buffed? " And 
he nodded to the Corinthian's bare arms. 

" Oh, dooce take me, I forgot ! " exclaimed the Marquis, 
looking about ; " queer cove, doocid touchy, looks as if 
he might fib though. All, there he is ! talking to the 
rough-looking customer over yonder ; " and he pointed to 
Barnabas, who stood with his coat thrown open, and the 
objectionable neckcloth in full evidence. The Viscount 
looked, started, uttered a " view hallo," and, striding for- 
ward, caught Barnabas by the hand. 

" Why, Bev, my dear fellow, this is lucky ! " he ex- 
claimed. Now Barnabas was quick to catch the glad ring 
in the Viscount's voice, and to notice that the neckcloth 
was entirely lost upon him, therefore he smiled as he 
returned the Viscount's hearty grip. 

" When did you get here ? what are you doing ? and 
what the deuce is the trouble between you and Jerning- 
ham? " inquired the Viscount all in a breath. But before 
Barnabas could answer, the great, black horse, tired of 
comparative inaction, began again to snort and rear, and 
jerk his proud head viciously, whereupon the two ostlers 
fell to swearing, and the Viscount's bays at the other 
end of the yard to capering, and the Viscount's small 
groom to anathematizing, all in a moment. 

" Slingsby ! " cried his Lordship, " look to that black 
demon of yours ! " 

" He is no concern of mine, Devenham," replied the 
Captain airily, " sold him, b'gad ! " 

" And I bought him," added Barnabas. 

" You did? " the Viscount exclaimed, " in heaven's name 
what for? " 

" To ride — " 

f 'Eh? my dear fellow!" 

jggMi The Amateur Gentleman 

"I should like to try him for the race on the fifteenth, 
if it could be managed, Dick." " ! dooq S /d),;n j/J ftejrifii J * 

" The race! '? I exclaimed the Viscount, staring. 

" I 've been wondering if you could — get me entered 
for it," Barnabas went on, rather diffidently, " I 'd give 
anything for the chance." >7 \ oo< 

"What — with that brute! my dear fellow, are you 
mad?i'&M yil< !io-g*io'i .>oob e riO *' 

" NoyiDifckviotiOt biaoob ,9voo isoup w : iuod/5 %rri/[ooI 

"But he 's unmanageable, Bev ; he's full of vice — a 
kifiebsi>^-m3©pkxlaJbjhim nowi; ?? -in ■gaiAooi-d'^uoi 

And indeed at this moment, as if to bear out this char- 
acter, up went the great > black head again, eyes rolling, 
teeth gleaming^ and ears laid back. 

"I tell you, Bev, no one could ride that devil!" the 
Viscount repeated**! girfi c v/o: 

" But," said Barnabas, " I 've bet your friend Captain 
Slingsby that I could." t bn 7 )Ht ni 

r" It Would be madness ! " exclaimed the Viscount. " Ha ! 
look out ! There — I told you so! " Eor in that moment 
the powerful animal reared suddenly — broke from the 
grip of one ostler, and swinging the other aside, stood 
free, and all was confusion. With a warning shout, the 
old groom sprang to : his head, but Barnabas was beside 
him, had caught the hanging reins, and swung himself 
into the saddle. 

" I've got him, sir," cried Martin, "find yer stirrups ! " 

" Your stick," said Barnabas, " quick, man ! Now — 
let go ! " >morn /> 

^MoT a moment the horse stood rigid, then reared again, 
up and up — his teeth bared, his forefeet lashing ; but 
down came the heavy stick between the flattened ears, 
once — twice, and brought him to earth again. 

And now began a struggle between the man and the 
brute — each young, each indomitable, for neither had as. 
yet been mastered, and therefore each was alike disdain- 
ful of the other. The head of the horse was high and 
^i*oud, his round hoofs spurned ; the earth beneath, firp 

Barnabas Buys a Horse F.95 

was in his eye, rage in his heart — rage and scorn of this 
presumptuous Two-legs who sought to pit his puny 
strength against his own quivering, four-legged might. 
Therefore he mocked Two-legs, scorned and contemned 
him, laughed ha! ha! (like his long-dead ancestor among 
the Psalmist's trumpets) and gathered himself together 
• — eager for the battle. 

But the eyes of Barnabas were wide and bright, his lips 
were curved, his jaw salient — his knees gripped tight, and 
his grasp was strong and sure upon the. reins. 

And now Pour-legs, having voiced his defiance, tossed 
his crest on high, then plunged giddily forward, was 
checked amid a whirlwind of lashing hoofs, rose on his 
hind legs higher and higher, swinging giddily round and 
round, felt a stunning blow, staggered, and dropping on 
all' fours, stove in the stable door with a fling of his hind 
hoofs. But the eyes of Barnabas were glowing, his lips 
still curved, and his grip upon the reins was more irias- 
terful. And, feeling all this, Four-legs, foaming with 
rage, his nostrils flaring, turned upon his foe with snap- 
ping teeth, found him out of reach, and so sought to play 
off an old trick that had served 'him more than once; . s he 
would smash his rider's leg against a post or wall, or 
brush him off altogether and get rid of him that way. 
But lo ! even as he leapt in fulfilment of this rtianoeuvre, 
his head was wrenched round, further and further, until 
he must perforce, stop — until he was glaring up into the 
face above, the face of his bitter foe, with its smiling 
mouth, its glowing eye, its serene brow. 

" Time 's up ! " cried the Captain,' suddenly ; " b'gad, 
sir, you win the bet ! " But Barnabas scarcely heard. 

" You 've done it — - you win ; eleven and a half minutes, 
b'gad!" roared the Captain again — u don't you hear, 
sir? — come off, before he breaks. your neck! " 

But Barnabas only shook his head, and, dropping the 
stick, leaned over and laid his hand upon that proud, 
defiant crest, a hand grown suddenly gentle, and drew it 
down caressingly from ear to quivering nostril, once, 

3 RB 9ldi 

196 The Amateur Gentleman 

twice, and spoke words in a soft tone, and so, loosed the 
cruel grip upon the rein, and sat back — waiting. But 
Four-legs had become thoughtful; true, he still tossed 
his head and pawed an impatient hoof, but that was 
merely for the sake of appearances — Four-legs was 
thoughtful. No one had ever touched him so, before — 
indeed blows had latterly been his portion — but this 
Two-legs was different from his kind, besides, he had a 
pleasing voice — a voice to soothe ragged nerves — there 
it was again! And then surely, the touch of this hand 
awoke dim memories, reminded him of far-off times when 
two-legged creatures had feared him less ; and there was 
the hand again ! After all, things might be worse — the 
hand that could be so gentle could be strong also; his 
mouth was sore yet, and a strong man, strong-handed and 
gentle of voice, was better than — oh, well ! 

Whether of all this, or any part of it, the great, black 
horse was really thinking, who shall say? Howbeit 
Barnabas presently turned in his saddle and beckoned 
the old groom to his stirrup. 

" He '11 be quiet now, I think," said he. 

" Ah ! that he will, sir. You 've larned the trick o' 
voice an' hand — it ain't many as has it — must be born 
in a man, I reckon, an' 't is that as does more nor all 
your whips and spurs, an' curb-bits, sir. 'E '11 be a babe 
wi' you arter this, sir, an' I 'm thinkin' as you won't be 
wantin' me now, maybe? I ain't young enough nor smart 
enough, d' ye see." 

Here Barnabas dismounted, and gave the reins into 
the old groom's eager hand. 

" I shan't be wanting him for — probably three or four 
days, Gabriel, until then — look after him, exercise him 
regularly, for I 'm hoping to do great things with him, 
soon, Gabriel, perhaps." And so Barnabas smiled, and 
as Martin led the horse to the stables, turned to find the 
young Corinthian at his elbow; he had resumed hat and 
coat, and now regarded Barnabas as smiling and imper- 
turbable as ever. 

Barnabas Buys a Horse 197 

" Sir," said he, " I congratulate you heartily. Sir, any 
friend of Viscount Devenham is also mine, I trust; and I 
know your name, and — hem ! — I swear Slingsby does ! 
Beverley, I think — hem ! — son of old Beverley, and a 
devilish good name too ! Eh, Sling my boy? " 

Hereupon the Captain limped forward, if possible 
redder of face than ever, very much like a large school- 
boy in fault. 

" Sir," he began, " b'gad — ! " here he paused to clear 
liis throat loudly once or twice — "a devil incarnate ! 
Fourteen minutes and a half, by my watch, and devil a 
spur ! I 'd have lent you my boots had there been time, 
I would, b'gad ! As it is, if you 've any desire to shake 
hands with a — ha ! — with a fellow — hum ! — in a dirty 
coat — why — here 's mine, b'gad ! " 

" Captain the Honorable Marmaduke Slingsby — Mr. 
Beverley — The Marquis of Jerningham — Mr. Beverley. 
And now," said the Viscount, as Barnabas shook hands, 
* 6 now tell 'em why you bought the horse, Bev." 

" I was hoping, sirs," said Barnabas, rather diffidently, 
" that I might perhaps have the honor of riding in the 
Steeplechase on the fifteenth." 

Hereupon the Captain struck his riding boot a re- 
sounding blow with his whip, and whistled; while the 
Marquis dangled his eyeglass by its riband, viewing it 
with eyes of mild surprise, and the Viscount glanced from 
one to the other with an enigmatical smile upon his 

" That would rest with Carnaby to decide, of course," 
said the Captain at last. 

" Why so ? " inquired Barnabas. 

" Because — well, because he — is Carnaby, I suppose," 
the Captain answered. 

" Though Jerningham has the casting-vote," added the 

" True," said the Marquis, rearranging a fold of his 
cravat with a self-conscious air, " but, as Sling says — 
Carnaby is — Carnaby." 

198 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Sirs," began Barnabas, very earnestly, " believe me 
I would spare no expense — " ^ a ^,^7 ; 

"Expense, sir?" repeated the ]V£arquis ? lifting a lan- 
guid eyebrow • " of course it is no question of 'expense ' ! " 
Here the Viscount looked, uncomfortable all at once, and 
Barnabas grew suddenly hot 

"I mean, he stammered, I mean that my being 
entered so late in the day- — the fees might be made pro- 
portionately heavier — r double them if need be — - 1 should 
none the less be — be inestimably indebted to you; in- 
deed I — -I cannot tell you — " Now as Barnabas broke 
off, the Marquis smiled and reached out his hand — a 
languid-seeming hand, slim and delicate, yet by no means 
languid of grip. 

" My dear Beverley," said he, " I like your earnestness. 
A race — especially this one — is a doocid serious thing ; 
for some of us, perhaps, even more serious, than we bar- 
gain for. It 's going to be a punishing race from start to 
'finish, a test of endurance for horse and man, over the 
worst imaginable country. It originated in a match be- 
tween t)evenham on his ' Moonraker ' and myself on 
'Clinker,' but Sling here was hot to match his 'Rascal,' 
and Carnaby fancied his VClasher,' and begad! applica- 
tions came so fast that we had a field in no time." 

"Good fellows and sportsmen all!" nodded the Cap- 
tain. "Gentlemen riders — no tag-rag, gamest of the 

S ame ' sil% " 3 fr 13*0 3^ „ 

" Now, as to yourself, my dear Beverley," con- 
tinued the Marquis ^tho^t^iy^ « joi^fre dopcid late, 
y know; but then— ( ^ aM yf|i 

He can ride," said the Viscount. ,• « Sog vdW " 
" And he 's game," nodded the Captain. . : 

" And, therefore," added the Marquis, " we '11 see what 
can be done about it." ( - ^ „ _ 

" And b'gad, here 's wislung you luck ! said the Captain. 
At this moment Peterby entered the yard, deep in 
jcpnyerse with a slim, gentleman-like person, whose noble 
cravat immediately attracted the attention of the Marquis. 

Barnabas Buys a Horse 199 

"By the way," pursued the Captain, "we three are 
dining together at my club ; may I have a cover laid for 
you, Mr. Beverley? " 

"Sir," answered Barnabas, " I thank you, but, owing 
to — circumstances " — here he cast a downward glance 
at his neckerchief — "I am unable to accept. But, per- 
haps, you will, all three of you, favor me to dinner at my 
house — say, in three days' time? " 3 inuooz 

The invitation was no sooner given than accepted. 

" But," said the Viscount, " I did n't know that you 
had a place here in town, Bev. Where is it? " uu. ' j 

" Why, indeed, now you come to mention it, I have n't 
the least idea; but, perhaps, my man can tell me." 

" Eh — what ? " exclaimed the Captain. " Oh, b'gad, 
he 's smoking us ftS -gai-Al&i " &d btBz k ^bw axti r'd" 

" Peterby ! " £9 luYiiu&sd taom srti io^ 

" Sir? " and having saluted the company, Peterby stood 
at respectful attention. .lahfoia 

" I shall be giving a small dinner in three days' 
time." .hib^b BBdfiflriBS 

" Certainl^J^rb^qqi'^ ased bad J-boo aid bnA M 

"At my house, Peterby, — consequently I- desire to 
know its location. Where do I live now, Peterby? " 

" Number five, St. James's Square, sir." > bnA " 

" Thank you, Peterby." >w\ of -gnhij - 

" An ^invaluable fellow, that of yours," laughed the 
Marquis, as Peterby bowed and turned away. v ^ *' 

" Indeed, I begin to think he is, my Lord," answered 
Barnabas, " and I shall expect you all, at six o'clock, on 
Friday next." So, having shaken hands again, Captain 
Slingsby took the arm of the Marquis, and limped off. 

Now, when they were alone, the Viscount gazed at 
Barnabas, chin in hand, and with twinkling eyes. 

" My dear Bev," said he, " you can hang me if I know 
what to make of you. Egad, you 're the most incompre- 
hensible fellow alive; you are, upon my soul! If I may 
ask, what the deuce did it all mean — about this house 

200 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Simply that until this moment I was n't sure if I had 
one yet." 

" But — your fellow — " 

" Yes. I sent him out this morning to buy me one." 

" To buy you — a house? " 

" Yes ; also horses and carriages, and many other 
things, chief among them — a tailor." 

The Viscount gasped. 

" But — my dear fellow — to leave all that to your 
— servant ! Oh, Gad ! " 

" But, as the Marquis remarked, Peterby is an inesti- 
mable fellow." 

The Viscount eyed Barnabas with brows wrinkled in 
perplexity ; then all at once his expression changed. 

" By the way," said he, " talking of Carnaby, he 's 
got the most beautiful eye you ever saw ! " 

" Oh? " said Barnabas, beginning to tuck in the ends 
of his neckerchief. 

"And a devil of a split lip!" 

" Oh? " said Barnabas again. 

" And his coat had been nearly ripped off him ; I saw 
it under his cape ! " 

"Ah?" said Barnabas, still busy with his neckcloth. 

" And naturally enough," pursued the Viscount, " I 've 
been trying to imagine — yes, Bev, I've been racking 
my brain most damnably, wondering why you — did it? " 

" It was in the wood," said Barnabas. 

" So it was you, then? " 

" Yes, Dick." 

" But — he did n't even mark you ? " 

" He lost his temper, Dick." 

" You thrashed — Carnaby ! Gad, Bev, there is n't a 
milling cove in England could have done it." 

" Yes — there are two — Natty Bell, and Glorious 

" And I '11 warrant he deserved it, Bev." 

" I think so," said Barnabas ; " it was in the wood 9 

Barnabas Buys a Horse 201 

" The wood? Ah! do you mean where you — " 

" Where I found her lying unconscious." 

" Unconscious ! And with him beside her ! My God, 
man ! " cried the Viscount, with a vicious snap of his teeth. 
" Why did n't you kill him? " 

" Because I was beside her — first, Dick." 

" Damn himj " exclaimed the Viscount bitterly. 

" But he is your friend, Dick." 

" Was, Bev, was ! We '11 make it in the past tense 

" Then you agree with your father after all? " 

" I do, Bev ; my father is a cursed, long-sighted, devil- 
ish observant man ! I '11 back him against anybody, 
though he is such a Roman. But oh, the devil ! " ex- 
claimed the Viscount suddenly, " you can never ride in 
the race after this." 

"Why not?" 

" Because you '11 meet Carnaby ; and that must n't 

"Why not?" 

" Because he '11 shoot you." 

" You mean he 'd challenge me? Hum," said Barnabas, 
" that is awkward ! But I can't give up the race." 

" Then what shall you do? " 

" Risk it, Dick." 

But now, Mr. Smivvle, who from an adjoining corner 
had been an interested spectator thus far, emerged, and 
flourishing off the curly-brimmed hat, bowed profoundly, 
and addressed himself to the Viscount. 

" I believe," said he, smiling affably, " that I have the 
pleasure to behold Viscount Devenham? " 

"The same, sir," rejoined the Viscount, bowing stiffly. 

"You don't remember me, perhaps, my Lord? " 

The Viscount regarded the speaker stonily, and shook 
his head. 

" No, I don't, sir." 

Mr. Smivvle drew himself up, and made the most of 
his whiskers. 

2 02 The Amateur; Gentleman 

"My Lord, my name is Smivvle, Pigby Smivvle," at 
your service, though perhaps you don't remember my 
name, either? "; \ u 

The Viscount took out his driving gloves and began 
to put them on. Smhi UrA ijot fa bib v 

" No, I don't, sir ! "he answered dryly. I oauuosifl " 

Mr. Smivvle felt for his whisker, found it, and smiled. 

" Quite so, my Lord, I am ibtft one of the concourse — 
the multitude -^;the. ah — the herd, though, mark me,- my 
Lord, a Smivvle, sir, — a Smivvle, every inch of me, — 
while you are the owner of \ Moonraker,' and Moon- 
raker's the word just now, I hear. But, sir, I have a 
friend — " ' [ liusm Jfurrt: 

"Indeed, sir," said the Viscount, in a tone of faint 
surprise, and beckoning a passing ostler, ordered out his 

" As I say," repeated Mr. Smivvle, beginning to; search 
for his whisker again, "I have a friend, my Lord — " 

" Congratulate you," murmured the Viscount, pulling 
at his glove. f * Sion 7/lW >J 

" A friend who has frequently spoken of your Lord- 
ship — " H Som^fi rniuoY" 

"Very kind of him!" murmured the Viscount. 

" And though, my Ldrd^ though my name is not 
familiar, I think you will remember his; the name "of 
my friend" is^'^- here Mr. Smivvle, having* at length dis- 
covered his whisker, gave it a fierce twirl,- — "Ronald 
Barrymaine.u^Yfod J&d bsmmind-vhuo edi fto gniHeiiuoft 

The Viscount's smooth brow remained unclouded, only 
the glove tore in his fingers.; so he smiled, shook his head, 
and drawing it off, tossed it away^iY bl< 

"Hum?" said he, " I -seem to, have heard some such 
name — somewhere or other— ah! there's my Imp at 
last, - as tight and smart as they make 'em, eh, Bev? 
Well, good-by, my dear fellow, I shan't forget Friday 
next." So saying, the Viscount shook hands, climbed into 
his curricle,- and, with a flourish. of his whip, was off and 
away in a moment. 

Barnabas Buys a Horse 203 

" A fine young fellow, that ! " exclaimed Mr. Smivvle ; 
" yes, sir, regular out-and-outer, a Bang up ! by heaven, 
a Blood, sir ! a Tippy ! a Go ! a regular Dash ! High, 
sir, high, damned high, like my friend Barrymaine, — in- 
deed, you may have remarked a similarity between 'em, 

sir?" IIIVXX HSTS:/ 

" You forget, I have never met your friend," said 


" Ah, to be sure, a great pity ! You 'd like him, for 
Barrymaine is a cursed fine fellow in spite of the Jews, 
dammem! yes, — you ought to know my friend, sir." 
bffkl^ishould be glad to," said Barnabas. 
hdU Would you though, would you indeed, sir? Nothing 
simpler; call a chaise! Stay though, poor Barry 's not 
himself to-day, under a cloud, sir. . Youthful prodigalities 
are apt to bring worries in their train — - chiefly in the 
shape of Jews, sir, and devilish bad shapes too! Better 
wait a day — say to-morrow, or Thursday — or even Fri- 
day would do." 

" Let at 'be" Saturday," said Barnabas. 

" Saturday by all means, sir, I '11 give ntyself the pleas- 
ure of calling upon yianaJE luVrabnow aid 

".St. James's Square, " : said Barnabas, "number five." 

But now Peterby, who had been eyeing Mi\ ;Smiv.vle very 
much askance, ventured to step forward. { Ihlod 

% Sir," said he,- r", may I; remind you of your appoint 4 -' 
ihenii&o'hTdilfi .;[} no x 

" It had h?t forgotten, Peterby; and good day, Mr. 

" Au revoir, sir, delighted to have had the happiness. 
If you should chance ever to be in Worcestershire, the 
Hall is open to you. Good afternoon, sir! " And so, 
with a prodigious flourish of the hat, Mr. Smivvle bowed, 
imiled,; arid ] swaggered off. Then, as he turned to follow 
Peterby into the inn, Barnabas must needs pause to glance 
towards the spot where 1 lay the Viscounty torn glove. 




In that delightful book, " The Arabian Nights' Enter- 
tainments," one may read of Spirits good, and bad, and 
indifferent; of slaves of lamps, of rings and amulets, and 
talismanic charms ; and of the marvels and wonders they 
performed. But never did Afrit, Djinn, or Genie perform 
greater miracles than steady-eyed, soft-voiced Peterby. 
For if the far away Orient has its potent charms and spells, 
so, in this less romantic Occident, have we also a spell 
whereby all things are possible, a charm to move mountains 
— a spell whereby kings become slaves, and slaves, kings ; 
and we call it Money. 

Aladdin had his wonderful Lamp, and lo! at the 
Genie's word, up sprang a palace, and the wilderness 
blossomed; Barnabas had his overflowing purse, and be- 
hold! Peterby went forth, and the dull room at the 
" George " became a mansion in the midst of Vanity Fair. 

Thus, at precisely four o'clock on the afternoon of 
the third day, Barnabas stood before a cheval mirror in 
the dressing-room of his new house, surveying his reflec- 
tion with a certain complacent satisfaction. 

His silver-buttoned blue coat, high-waisted and cun- 
ningly rolled of collar, was a sartorial triumph; his black 
stockinette pantaloons, close-fitting from hip to ankle and 
there looped and buttoned, accentuated muscled calf and 
virile thigh in a manner somewhat disconcerting ; his snowy 
waistcoat was of an original fashion and cut, and his 
cravat, folded and caressed into being by Peterby's fingers, 
was an elaborate masterpiece, a matchless creation never 

Legs of a Gentleman-in-Powder 205 

before seen upon the town. Barnabas had become a 
dandy, from the crown of his curly head to his silk stock- 
ings and polished shoes, and, upon the whole, was not ill- 
pleased with himself. 

" But they 're — dangerously tight, are n't they, 
Peterby? " he inquired suddenly, speaking his thought 

" Tight, sir ! " repeated Mr. Barry, the tailor, reproach- 
fully, and shaking his gentleman-like head, " impossible, 
sir, — with such a leg inside 'em." 

" Tight, sir? " exclaimed Peterby, from where he knelt 
upon the floor, having just finished looping and button- 
ing the garments in question, " indeed, sir, since you 
mention it, I almost fear they are a trifle too — roomy. 
Can you raise your bent knee, sir ? " 

" Only with an effort, John." 

" That settles it, Barry," said Peterby with a grim 
nod, " you must take them in at least a quarter of an 
inch." * 

" Take 'em in? " exclaimed Barnabas, aghast, " no, I '11 
be shot if you do, — not a fraction ! I can scarcely 
manage 'em as it is." Peterby shook his head in grave 
doubt, but at this juncture they were interrupted by a 
discreet knock, and the door opening, a Gentleman-in- 
Powder appeared. He was a languid gentleman, an ex- 
tremely superior gentleman, but his character lay chiefly 
in his nose, which was remarkably short and remarkably 
supercilious of tip, and his legs which were large and nobly 
shaped; they were, in a sense, eloquent legs, being given 
to divers tremors and quiverings when their possessor 
labored under any strong feeling or excitement; but, 
above all, they were haughty legs, contemptuous of this 
paltry world and all that therein is, yea, even of them- 
selves, for their very calves seemed striving to turn their 
backs upon each other. 

" Are you in, sir ? " he inquired in an utterly impersonal 

"In?" repeated Barnabas, with a quick downward 

j2<$)<6 ^WfaQ^maMemoQenQemim ago J 

glance at his tight nether garments, "in? — in what?— * 
in where? " 

" Are you at 'ome, sir? " 

" At home? Of course, — can't you see that? " 

" Yes, sir,'' returned the Gentleman-in-Powder, his legs 
growing a little agitated. 

" Then why do you ask? " .hi 

"There is a — person below, sir." 

" A person? " 

" Yes, sir, — very much so! Got 'is foot in the door — 
would n't take it out — had to let 'em in — waiting in the 
'all, sir." 

" What 's he like, who is he? " 

" Whiskers, sir, — name of Snivels, — no card ! " Here 
might have been observed the same agitation of the plump 
legs. # * 

" Ask him to wait." "^lusfi Jl zslitea tad? 

" Beg pardon, sir — did you say — to wait? " (Agita- 
tion growing.) 

" Yes. Say I '11 be down at once." (Agitation 
extreme.) I 

" Meaning as you will — see 'im$ sir? " (Agitation 
indescribable.) ixitoni'f ] u d ,tduob 

"Yes," said Barnabas, " yes, of course." 

The Gentleman-in-Powder bowed; his eye was calm, 
his brow unruffled, but his legs ! ! ! And his nose was more 
supercilious than ever as he closed the door upon it. 

Mr. Smivvle, meanwhile* was standing downstairs be- 
fore a mirror, apparently lost in contemplation of his 
whiskers, and indeed they seemed to afford him a vast 
degree of pleasure* for he stroked them with caressing 
fingers, and smiled upon them quite benevolently. 

"Six pair of silver candlesticks!" he murmured. 
"Persian rugs ! Bric-a-brac, rare — costly pictures ! 
He's a Nabob, by heaven, — yes he is, — a mysterious 
young Nabob, wallowing in wealth! Five shillings? — 
preposterous! we'll make it — ten, — and — yes, shall 
we say another five for the pampered menial? By all 

Legs of a Gendeman-in-Powder 207 

means let us make it another five shillings for the cursed 
flunkey, — here he comes ! " 

And indeed, at that moment the legs of the Gentleman- 
in-Powder might have been descried descending the stair 
rather more pompously than usual. As soon as they had 
become stationary, Mr. Smivvle directed a glance at the 
nearest, and addressed it. 

" James ! " said he. 

The Gentleman-in-Pow'der became lost in dreamy ab- 
straction, with the exception of his legs which worked 
slightly. Hereupon Mr. Smiwle reached out and poked 
him gently with the head of his tasselled cane. 

" Awake, James ? " said he. I M 

" Name of Harthur — if you please, sir ! " retorted the 
Gentleinan-in-Powder, brushing away the touch of the 
cane, and eyeing the place with much concern. 

"If, James," continued Mr. Smiwle, belligerent • of 
whisker, " if you would continue to ornament this lordly 
mansion, James, be more respectful, hereafter, to your 
master's old and tried friends," saying which Mr. Smivvle; 
gave a twirl to each whisker, and turned to inspect a 
cabinet of old china. I ** 

^'Sevres, by George!" he murmured, " we '11. make it 
a pound! " He was still lost in contemplation of the 
luxurious appointments that everywhere met his view, 
and was seriously considering the advisability of "making 
it thirty shillings," when the appearance of Barnabas cut 
him short, and he at once became all smiles, flourishes and 

"Ah, Beverley, my boy!" he cried heartily, "pray 
forgive this horribly unseasonable visit, but — under the 
circumstances — I felt it my duty to — ah — to drop in 
on you, my dear fellow." 

" What circumstances ? " demanded Barnabas, a little 
stiffly, perhaps. 

" Circumstances affecting our friend Barrymaine, 
sir." { " 

"Ah?" said Barnabas, his tone changing, "what of 

208 The Amateur Gentleman 

him? though you forget, Mr. Barrymaine and I are still 

" By heaven, you are right, sir, though, egad ! I 'm 
only a little previous, — eh, my dear fellow? " and, smiling 
engagingly, Mr. Smivvle followed Barnabas into a side 
room, and shutting the door with elaborate care, imme- 
diately shook his whiskers and heaved a profound sigh. 
" My friend Barrymaine is low, sir, — devilish low," he 
proceeded to explain, " indeed I 'm quite distressed for 
the poor fellow, 'pon my soul and honor I am, — for 
he is — in a manner of speaking — in eclipse as it were, 
sir ! " 

" I fear I don't understand," said Barnabas. 

" Why, then — in plain words, my dear Beverley, — 
he 's suffering from an acute attack of the Jews, dammem ! 

— a positive seizure, sir ! " 

" Do you mean he has been taken — for debt ? " 

" Precisely, my dear fellow. An old affair — ages ago 

— a stab in the dark ! Nothing very much, in fact a mere 
bagatelle, only, as luck will have it, I am damnably short 
myself just now." 

" How much is it? " 

" Altogether exactly twenty-five pound ten. An ab- 
surd sum, but all my odd cash is on the race. So I ven- 
tured here on my young friend's behalf to ask for a 
trifling loan, — a pound — or say thirty shillings would be 

Barnabas crossed to a cabinet, unlocked a drawer, and 
taking thence a smallish bag that jingled, began to count 
out a certain sum upon the table. 

" You said twenty-five pounds ten, I think? " said Bar- 
nabas, and pushed that amount across the table. Mr. 
Smiwle stared from the money to Barnabas and back 
again, and felt for his whisker with fumbling fingers. 

" Sir," he said, " you can't — you don't mean to — 
to — " 

" Yes," said Barnabas, turning to re-lock the drawer. 
Mr. Smivvle's hand dropped from his whiskers, indeed. 

Legs of a Gentleman-in-Powder 209 

for the moment he almost seemed to have forgotten their 

" Sir," he stammered, " I cannot allow — no indeed, sir ! 
Mr. Beverley, you overwhelm me — " 

" Debts are necessary evils," said Barnabas, " and must 
be paid." Mr. Smivvle stared at Barnabas, his brow fur- 
rowed by perplexity, — stared like one who is suddenly 
at a loss ; and indeed his usual knowing air was quite 
gone. Then, dropping his gaze to the money on the table, 
he swept it into his pocket, almost furtively, and took 
up his hat and cane, and, it is worthy of note, that he did 
it all without a flourish. 

" Mr. Beverley," said he, " in the name of my friend 
Barrymaine, I thank you, and — I — I thank you ! '• So 
he turned and went out of the room, and, as he went, he 
even forgot to swagger. 

Then Barnabas crossed to a mirror, and, once more, 
fell to studying his reflection with critical eyes, in the 
midst of which examination he looked up to find Peterby 
beside him. 

" Are you quite satisfied, sir? " 

" They are wonderful, John." 

" The coat," said Peterby, " y-e-s, the coat will pass 
well enough, but I have grave doubts as regard the 

" I refuse to have 'em touched, John. And Natty Bell 
was quite right." 

" Sir? " said Peterby. 

" You don't know Natty Bell as yet, John, but you 
may; he is a very remarkable man! He told me, I re- 
member, that in Town, a man had his clothes put on 
for him, and — remembered them, — and so he does, — 
the difficulty will be ever to forget 'em, they " — here 
Barnabas stole a glance at his legs — " they positively 
obtrude themselves, John ! Yes, clothes are wonderful 
things, but I fear they will take a great deal of living 
ap to ! " 

Here Barnabas drew a long sigh, in the midst of which 

he was interrupted by the calves of the Gentleman-in- 
Powder, which presented themselves at the doorway with 
the announcement : 

" Viscount Deaf enemy- smli^Ied wis v, . rl/L 

Barnabas started and hurried forward, very conscious, 
very nervous, and for once uncertain of himself by 
reason 'of his new and unaccustomed splendor. But the 
look in the Viscount's boyish- eyes* his smiling nod of 
frank approval, and the warm clasp of his hand, were 
vastly reassuFmJ££!j'i Jgomle e iatiboq siri olal ii JqsTs 
b "Why, Bev, that coat 's a hnaarivel ! " he exclaimed im- 
pulsively, " it is, I swear it is ; turn round £m so ! Gad, 
what a fit! " idi ni '" t sd : jfl ,iM * 

" I hoped 'yoid/'d approve of ity Dick," said Barnabas, 
a little flushed, " y ou see, I know very little about such 
things, and — " .19^ 

" Approve ; of it! My dear fellow ! And the cut ! " 
" Now — - as for these — - er — - pantaloons, Dick — ? " 
■■."■ Dashing, my dear fellow, — ■ devilish dashing ! " 
" But rather too — too tight, don't you think? " 
" Can't be, Bev, tighter the better, - — have 'em made 
too tight to get into, and you ^re right : look at mine, if 
I bend, I split, — deuced uncomforiaMe^bdt all the 1 mode, 
and a anan must wear something!; IMy fellow has the 
deuce of a time getting me into 'em, confound 'em. Oh, 
for ease, gifee &ne boots , and. ibuckskins I " Hereupon the 
Viscount having walked round Barnabas ' three times, and 
viewed him critically from every .mdgle/inbdded with "an 
air/ of finality* "Yes, they do yow infinite credit', my 
dear fellow, — like everything .-else; J ? and he cast a com- 
prehensive "glance round the luxurious -apartment. 
— " The credit of it all rests entirely with Peterby," said 
Barnabas. " John — where are youM' [{But Peterby had 

" You 're the mbst anconiprehensible fellow, Bev," said 
the Viscount, seating himself on the edge of the table and 
swinging his leg. " You have been a constant surprise to 
me ever since you found me — er — let us say — riimi- 

Legs of a Gentleman-in-Powder 2iji 

nating in the bilboes, and now " — here he shook his head- 
gravely — " and now it seems you are to become a source 
of infernal worry and anxiety as well." 

" I hope not, Dick." ,j-„ 

"You are, though," repeated the Viscount, looking 
graver than ever. 


"Because — well, because you are evidently bent upon 
dying young." ^ 

" How so, Dick? " 

" Well, if you ride in the race and don't break your 
neck, Carnaby will want a word with you; and if -he 
does n't shoot you, why then Chichester certainly will — 
next time, damn him ! " 

"Next time?" 

"Oh, I know all about your little affair with him — - 
across the table. Gad, Beverley,- what a perfectly reckless 
fellow you are ! " 

".But — how do you know of this?" ] « 

" From Clemency." 

" So you 've seen her again, Dick? " 

" Yes, of course; that is, I took ' Moonraker ' for a 
gallop 3^esterday, and — happened to be that way." 

" Ah ! " said Barnabas. 

"And she told me — everything," said the Viscount, 
beginning to stride up and down the room, with his usual 
placidity quite gone, "I mean about — about the button 
you found, it was that devil Chichester's it seems, and — ■ 
and- — Beverley, give me your hand!. She told me how 
you confronted the fellow. Ha ! I '11 swear you had him 
shaking in his villain's shoes, duellist as he is." ' '/ •> 

" But," said Barnabas, as the Viscount caught his 
hand, " it was not altogether on Clemency's account, 

"No matter, you frightened the fellow off. Oh, I 
know — she told me ; I made her ! She had to fight with 
the beast, that 's how. he lost. his button.- I tell youv if 
ever I get the chance at him, he or I shall get his quietus. 

2 12 The Amateur Gentleman 

By God, Bev, I ? m half-minded to send the brute a chal- 
lenge, as it is." 

" Because of Clemency, Dick? " 

"Well — and why not?" 

" The Earl of Bamborough's son fight a duel over the 
chambermaid of a hedge tavern ! " 

The Viscount's handsome face grew suddenly red, and 
as suddenly pale again, and his eyes glowed as he fronted 
Barnabas across the hearth. 

" Mr. Beverley," said he very quietly, " how am I to 
take that? " 

" In friendship, Dick, for the truth of it is that — ■ 
though she is as brave, as pure, as beautiful as any lady 
in the land, she is a chambermaid none the less." 

The Viscount turned, and striding to the window stood 
there, looking out with bent head. 

" Have I offended you? " inquired Barnabas. 

" You go — too far, Beverley." 

" I would go farther yet for my friend, Viscount, or 
for our Lady Cleone." 

Now when Barnabas said this, the Viscount's head 
drooped lower yet, and he stood silent. Then, all at once, 
he turned, and coming to the hearth, the two stood look- 
ing at each other. 

" Yes, I believe you would, Beverley. But you have 
a way of jumping to conclusions that is — devilish dis- 
concerting. As for Chichester, the world would be well 
rid of him. And, talking of him, I met another rascal 
as I came — I mean that fellow Smivvle ; had he been 

" Yes." 

" Begging, I suppose? " 

" He borrowed some money for his friend Barry- 

The Viscount flushed hotly, and looked at Barnabas 
with a sudden frown. 

" Perhaps you are unaware, that is a name I never 
allow spoken in my presence, Mr. Beverley." 

Legs of a Gentleman-in-Powder 213 


" Indeed, Viscount, and pray, why not? " 

" For one thing, because he is — what he is 

" Lady Cleone's brother." 

" Half-brother, sir, and none the less a — knave." 


" I mean that he is a card-sharper, a common cheat." 

" Her brother— ?" 


" A cheat! Are you sure? " 

" Certain ! I had the misfortune to make the discovery. 
And it killed him in London, all the clubs shut their doors 
upon him of course, he was cut in the streets, — it is damn- 
ing to be seen in his company or even to mention his name 
— now." 

" And you — you exposed him? " 

" I said I made the discovery ; but I kept it to myself.. 
The stakes were unusually high that night, and we played 
late. I went home with him, but Chichester was there,, 
waiting for him. So I took him aside, and, in as friendly 
a spirit as I could, told him of my discovery. He broke 
down, and, never attempting a denial, offered restitution 
and promised amendment. I gave my word to keep silent 
and, on one pretext or another, the loser's money was. 
returned. But next week, the whole town hummed with 
the news. One night — it was at White's — he confronted 
me, and — he gave me — the lie ! " The Viscount's fists, 
were tight clenched, and he stared down blindly at the 
floor. " And, sir, though you '11 scarcely credit it of 
course, I — there, before them all — I took it." 

" Of course," said Barnabas, " for Her sake." 

" Beverley ! " exclaimed the Viscount, looking up with 
a sudden light in his eyes. " Oh, Bev ! " and their hand& 
met and gripped. 

" You could n't do anything else, Dick." 

" No, Bev, no, but I 'm glad you understand. Later 
it got about that I — that I was ■ — afraid of the fellow — 
he 's a dead shot, they say, young as he is — ancf — well, 
it — it was n't pleasant, Bev. Indeed it got worse until I 

214 The Amateur Gentleman 

called out one of Chichester's friends, and winged him — 
a fellow named Dalton." 

" I think I 've seen him," said Barnabas, nodding. 

" Anyhow, Barrymaine was utterly discredited and done 
for — he 's an outcast, and to be seen with him, or his 
friends, is to be damned also." 

" And yet," said Barnabas, sighing and shaking his 
head, " I must call upon him to-morrow." 

" Call upon him ! Man — are you mad? " 

" No ; but he is her brother, and — " 

" And, as I tell you, he is banned by society as a cheat ! " 

" And is that so great a sin, Dick? " 

" Are there any — worse? " 

" Oh, yes ; one might kill a man in a duel, or dis- 
honor a trusting woman, or blast a man's character; in- 
deed it seems to me that there are many greater sins ! " 

The Viscount dropped back in his chair, and stared at 
Barnabas with horrified eyes. 

" My — dear — Beverley," said he at last, " are you — 
serious ? " 

" My dear Viscount — of course I am." 

" Then let me warn you, such views will never do 
here: any one holding such views will never succeed in 

" Yet I mean to try," said Barnabas, squaring his 

" But why," said the Viscount, impatiently, " why 
trouble yourself about such a fellow? " 

" Because She loves him, and because She asked me to 
help him." 

" She asked — you to? " 

" Yes." 

" And — do you think you can? " 

" I shall try." 

First, by freeing him from debt." 
Do you know him — have you ever met him? " 
No, Dick, but I love his sister." 



Legs of a Gentleman-in-Powder 215 

"And because of this, you'd shoulder his debts? Ah, 
but you can't, and if you ask me why, I tell you, because 
Jasper Gaunt has got him, and means to keep him. To 
my knowledge Barrymaine has twice had the money to 
liquidate his debt — but Gaunt has put him off, on one 
pretext or another, until the money has all slipped away. 
I tell you, Bev, Jasper Gaunt has got him in his clutches 
— as he 's got Sling, and poor George Danby, and — 
God knows how many more — as he 'd get me if he could, 
damn him! Yes, Gaunt has got his claws into him, and 
he '11 never let him go again — never." 

" Then," said Barnabas, " I must see Jasper Gaunt as 
soon as may be." 

" Oh, by all means," nodded the Viscount, " if you 
have a taste for snakes, and spiders, and vermin of that 
sort, Slingsby will show you where to find him — Slingsby 
knows his den well enough, poor old Sling! But look to 
yourself, for spiders sting and snakes bite, and Jasper 
Gaunt does both." 

The knuckles of the Gentleman-in-Powder here made 
themselves heard, and thereafter the door opened to ad- 
mit his calves, which were immediately eclipsed by the 
Marquis, who appeared to be in a state of unwonted 

"What, have I beat Slingsby, then?" he inquired, 
glancing round the room, " he was close behind me in 
Piccadilly — must have had a spill — that 's the worst of 
those high curricles. As a matter of fact," he proceeded 
to explain, " I rushed round here — that is we both did, 
but I 've got here first, to tell you that — Oh, dooce take 
me ! " and out came the Marquis's eyeglass. " Positively 
you must excuse me, my dear Beverley. Thought I knew 
'em all, but no — damme if I ever saw the fellow to yours ! 
Permit me ! " Saying which the Marquis gently led Bar- 
nabas to the window, and began to study his cravat with 
the most profound interest. 

" By George, Devenham," he exclaimed suddenly, — 
66 it 's new ! " 

216 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Gad ! " said the Viscount, " now you come to men- 
tion it, — so it is ! " 

" Positively — new ! " repeated the Marquis in an awe- 
struck voice, staring at the Viscount wide-eyed. " D' you 
grasp the importance of this, Devenham? — d' you see 
the possibilities, Dick? It will create a sensation, — 
it will set all the clubs by the ears, by George! We 
shall have the Prince galloping up from Brighton. By 
heaven, it 's stupendous ! Permit me, my dear Beverley. 
See — here we have three folds and a tuck, then — oh, 
Jupiter, it 's a positive work of art, — how the deuce 
d' you tie it? Never saw anything approaching this, 
and I 've tried 'em all, — the Mail-coach, the Trone 
d' Amour, the Osbaldistone, the Napoleon, the Irish tie, 
the Mathematical tie, and the Oriental, — no, 'pon my 
honor it 's unique, it 's — it 's — " the Marquis sighed, 
shook his head, and words failing him, took out his enam- 
elled snuff-box. " Sir," said he, " I have the very highest 
regard for a man of refined taste, and if there is one thing 
in which that manifests itself more than another, it is the 
cravat. Sir, I make you free of my box, pray honor me." 
And the Marquis flicked open his snuff-box and extended 
it towards Barnabas with a bow. 

" My Lord," said Barnabas, shaking his head, " I ap- 
preciate the honor you do me, but pray excuse me, — 
I never take it." 

" No? " said the Marquis with raised brows, " you 
astonish me ; but then — between ourselves — neither do 
I. Can't bear the infernal stuff. Makes me sneeze 
most damnably. And then, it has such a cursed way 
of blowing about! Still, one must conform to fashion, 
and — " 

"Captain Slingsby!" 

The Gentleman-in-Powder had scarcely articulated the 
words, when the Captain had gripped Barnabas by the 

" Congratulate you, Beverley, heartily." 

" Thank you, but why? " inquired Barnabas. 

Legs of a Gentleman-in-Powder 217 

" Eh — what? Hasn't Jerningham told you? B'gad, 
is it possible you don't know — " 

" Why, dooce take me, Sling, if I did n't forget ! " said 
the Marquis, clapping hand to thigh, " but his cravat put 
everything else out of my nob, and small wonder either ! 
You tell him." f 

" No," answered the Captain. " I upset a cursed apple- 
stall on my way here — you got in first — tell him 

" Why, then, Beverley," said the Marquis, extending 
his hand, in his turn, as he spoke, " we have pleasure, 
Sling and I, to tell you that you are entered for the race 
on the fifteenth." 

" The race ! " exclaimed Barnabas, flushing. " You 
mean I 'm to ride then? " 

" Yes," nodded the Captain, " but b'gad ! we mean 
more than that, we mean that you are one of us, that 
Devenham's friend must be ours because he 's game — " 

" And can ride," said the Viscount. 

" And is a man of taste," added the Marquis. 

Thus it was as one in a dream that Barnabas beheld 
the legs of the Gentleman-in-Powder, and heard the 
words : 

" Dinner is served, gentlemen ! " 

But scarcely had they taken their places at the table 
when the Marquis rose, his brimming glass in his hand. 

" Mr. Beverley," said he, bowing, " when Devenham, 
Slingsby, and I meet at table, it is our invariable custom 
to drink to one whom we all — hum — " 

" Admire ! " said the Viscount, rising. 

" Adore ! " said the Captain, rising also. 

" Therefore, gentlemen," pursued the Marquis, ^ with 
our host's permission, we will — " 

" Stay a moment, Jerningham," said the Viscount, — 
" it is only right to tell you that my friend Beverley is 
one with us in this, — he also is a suitor for the hand of 
Lady Cleone." 

" *s he. b'gad ! " exclaimed the Captain. 

218 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Dooce take me ! " said the Marquis, " might have 
known it though. Ah, well ! one more or less makes small 
difference among so many." 

So Barnabas rose, and lifting his glass with the others, 
drank to — 

" Our Lady Cleone — God bless her ! " 



Hoeborn was in full song, — a rumbling, roaring melody, 
a clattering, rushing, blaring symphony made up of the 
grind of wheels upon resounding cobble-stones, the thud- 
ding beat of horse-hoofs, the tread of countless feet, the 
shrill note of voices; it was all there, the bass and the 
treble blending together, harsh, discordant, yet the real 
symphony of life. 

And, amidst it all, of it all, came Barnabas, eager- 
eyed, forgetful of his companion, lost to all but the stir 
and bustle, the rush and roar of the wonderful city about 
him. The which Mr. Smiwle duly remarked from under 
the curly-brimmed hat, but was uncommonly silent. In- 
deed, though his hat was at its usual rakish angle, though 
he swung his cane and strode with all his ordinary devil- 
may-care swagger, though his whiskers were as self- 
assertive as ever, yet Mr. Smiwle himself was unusually 
pensive, and in his bold black eyes was a look very like 
anxiety. But in a while, as they turned out of the rush 
of Holborn Hill, he sighed, threw back his shoulders, and 

" Nearly there now, my dear fellow, this is the 

" Garden?" said Barnabas, glancing about. " Where? " 

" Here, sir ; we 're in it, — Hatton Garden. Charm- 
ingly rustic spot, you '11 observe, delightfully rural re- 
treat ! Famous for strawberries once, I believe, — flowers 
too, of course. Talking of flowers, sir, a few of 'em still 
left to — ah — blush unseen? I'm one, Barrymaine 's 

220 The Amateur Gentleman 

another — a violet? No. A lily? No. A blush-rose? 
Well, let us say a blush-rose, but damnably run to seed, 
like the rest of us. And — ah — talking of Barrymaine, 
I ought, perhaps, to warn you that we may find him a 
trifle — queer — a leetle touched perhaps." And Mr, 
Smivvle raised an invisible glass, and tossed down its im- 
aginary contents with an expression of much beatitude. 

" Is he given to — that sort of thing? " 

" Sir," said Mr. Smiwle, " can you blame one who 
seeks f orgetfulness in the flowing bowl — and my friend 
Barry has very much to forget — can you blame him? " 

" No, poor fellow ! " 

" Sir, allow me to tell you my friend Barry needs no 
man's pity, though I confess I could wish Chichester was 
not quite so generous — in one respect." 


" In — ah — in keeping the flowing bowl continually 
brimming, my dear fellow." 

" Is Mr. Chichester a friend of his ? " 

" The only one, with the exception of yours obediently, 
who has not deserted him in his adversity." 


" Because, well, — between you and me, my dear fel- 
low, I believe his regard for Barry's half-sister, the Lady 
Cleone, is largely accountable in Chichester's case; as for 
myself, because, as I think I mentioned, the hand of a 
Smivvle once given, sir, is never withdrawn, either on 
account of plague, poverty, pestilence, or Jews, — 
dammem ! This way, my dear fellow ! " and turning into 
Cross Street, up towards Leather Lane, Mr. Smivvle 
halted at a certain dingy door, opened it, and showed 
Barnabas into a dingier hall, and so, leading the way up 
the dingiest stairs in the world, eventually ushered him 
into a fair-sized, though dingy, room; and being entered, 
immediately stood upon tip-toe and laid a finger on his 

"Hush! the poor fellow's asleep, but 3/ou'll excuse 
him, I know." 

Ronald Barrymaine' s Misfortunes 221 

Barnabas nodded, and, softly approaching the couch, 
looked down upon the sleeper, and, with the look, felt his 
heart leap. . 

A young face he saw, delicately featured, a handsome 
face with disdainful lips that yet drooped in pitiful weari- 
ness, a face which, for all its youth, was marred by the 
indelible traces of fierce, ungoverned passions. And 
gazing down upon these features, so dissimilar in expres- 
sion, yet so strangely like in their beauty and lofty pride, 
Barnabas felt his heart leap, — because of the long lashes 
that curled so black against the waxen pallor of the 
cheek; for in that moment he almost seemed to be back 
in the green, morning freshness of Annersley Wood, and 
upon his lips there breathed a name — " Cleone." 

But all at once the sleeper stirred, frowned, and started 
up with a bitter imprecation upon his lips that ended in 
a vacant stare. 

" Why, Barry," cried Mr. Smivvle leaning over him, 
" my dear boy, did we disturb you? " 

iC Ah, Dig — is that you? Fell asleep — brandy, per- 
haps, and — ha, — your pardon, sir ! " and Ronald Barry- 
maine rose, somewhat unsteadily, and, folding his thread- 
bare dressing-gown about him, bowed, and so stood facing 
Barnabas, a little drunk and very stately. 

" This is my friend Beverley, of whom I told you," Mr. 
Smivvle hastened to explain. " Mr. Barnabas Beverley, 
— Mr. Ronald Barrymaine." 

" You are — welcome, sir," said Mr. Barrymaine, 
speaking with elaborate care, as if to make quite sure of 
his utterance. " Pray be seated, Mr. Bev'ley. We — we 
are a little crowded I f-fear. Move those boots off the 
chair, Dig. Indeed my apartment might be a little more 
commodious, but it 's all I have at p-present, and by 
God ! " he cried, suddenly fierce, " I should n't have even 
this but for Dig here ! Dig 's the only f-friend I have in 
the world — except Chichester. Push the brandy over, 
Dig. Of course there 's — Cleone, but she 's only a sister, 
after all. Don't know what I should do if it was n't for 

222 The Amateur Gentleman 

Dig — d-do I, Dig? And Chichester of course. Give Mr. 
Bev'ley a chair, Dig. I '11 get him — glass ! " Hereupon 
Mr. Smivvle hurried forward with a x;hair which, like all 
the rest of the furniture, had long ago seen its best 
days, during which manoeuvre he contrived to whisper 
hurriedly : 

" Poor Barry 's decidedly ' touched ' to-day, a little 
more so than usual, but you '11 excuse him I know, my 
dear fellow. Hush ! " for Barrymaine, who had crossed to 
the other end of the room, now turned and came towards 
them, swaying a little, and with a glass in his hand. 

" It 's rickety, sir, you '11 notice," said he, nodding. 
"I — I mean that chair — dev'lish rickety, like every- 
thing else 'bout here — especially myself, eh, Dig? B-but 
don't be alarmed, it — will bear you, sir. D-devil of a 
place to ask — gentleman to sit down in, — but the 
Spanswick has n't been round to clean the place this week 
— damn her ! S-scarcely blame her, though — never gets 
paid — except when Dig remembers it. Don't know what 
I should do without D-Dig, — raised twenty pounds yes- 
terday, damme if I know where ! said it was watch — but 
watch went weeks ago. Could n't ever pay the Spanswick. 
That 's the accursed part of it — pay, pay! debt on debt, 
and — n-nothing to pay with. All swallowed up by that 
merciless bloodsucker — that — " 

" Now, Barry ! " Mr. Smivvle expostulated, " my dear 
boy — " 

" He 's a cursed v-vampire, I tell you ! " retorted Barry- 
maine, his pale cheeks suddenly flushed, and his dark eyes 
flashing in swift passion, — " he 's a snake." 

" Now, my dear fellow, calm yourself." 

" Calm myself. How can I, when everything I have 
is his, when everything I g-get belongs to him before — 
curse him — even before I get it ! I tell you, Dig, he 's — 
he 's draining my life away, drop by drop ! He 's g-got 
me down with his foot on my neck — crushing me into the 
mud. I say he 's stamping me down into hell — damn 

Ronald Barrymaine's Misfortunes 223 

" Restrain yourself, Barry, my dear boy, remember 
Mr. Beverley is our guest — " 

" Restrain myself — yes, Dig, yes. B-beg Mr. Bever- 
ley's pardon for me, Dig. Not myself to-day, — but must 
restrain myself — certainly. Give me some more brandy 
— ha! and pass bottle to Mr. Bev'ley, Dig. No, sir? 
Ah well, help yourself, Dig. Must forgive exhibition of 
feeling, sir, but I always do get carried away when I 
remember that inhuman monster — God's curse on him ! '* 

" Sir," said Barnabas, " whom do you mean? " 

"Mean? ha! ha! oh damme, hark to that, Dig! 
Dev'lish witty I call that — oh c-cursed rich ! Whom do 
I mean? Why," cried Barrymaine, starting up from the 
couch, " whom should I mean but Gaunt ! Gaunt ! Gaunt ! " 
and he shook his clenched fists passionately in the air. 
Then, as suddenly he turned upon Barnabas with a wild,, 
despairing gesture, and stretching out his arms, pointed 
to each wrist in turn. " D' ye see 'em? " he cried, " d' ye 
hear 'em jangle? No? Ah, but they are there! riveted 
on, never to come off, eating deeper into my flesh every 
day ! I 'm shackled, I tell you, — fettered hand and foot. 
Oh! egad, I'm an object lesson! — point a moral and 
adorn a tale, — beware of p-prodigality and m-money 
lenders. Shackled — shackled hand and foot, and must 
drag my chain until I f-fall into a debtor's grave." 

" No ! " cried Barnabas, so suddenly that Ronald 
Barrymaine started, and thereafter grew very high and 

" Sir," said he with upflung head, " I don't permit my 
word to be — to be — contra — dieted, — never did and 
never will. Though you see before you a m-miserable 
wretch, yet that wretch is still a gentleman at heart, and 
that wretch tells you again he 's shackled, sir, hand and 
i oot — yes, damme, and so I am ! " 

" Well then," said Barnabas, " why not free yourself? " 

Ronald Barrymaine sank down upon the couch, looked 
at Barnabas, looked at Smivvle, drained his glass and 
*hook his head 

224 The Amateur Gentleman 

" My dear Dig," said he, " your friend 's either mad 
or drunk — mos' probably drunk. Yes, that 's it, — or 
else he \s smoking me, and I won't be smoked, no man shall 
laugh at me now that I 'm down. Show him the door, 
Dig. I — I won't have my private affairs discussed by 
s-strangers, no, by heaven ! " 

" Now, Barry," exclaimed Mr. Smivvle, " do be calm, 
Mr. Beverley only wants to help you — er — that is, in 
a friendly way, of course, and I 'm sure — " 

" Damn his help ! I 'd rather die in the g-gutter than 
ask help or charity of any one." 

" Yes, yes — of course, my dear fellow ! But you 're so 
touchy, Barry, so infernally proud, my dear boy. Mr. 
Beverley merely wishes to — " 

" Be honored with your friendship," said Barnabas with 
his ingenuous smile. 

" Why then, Dig," says his youthful Mightiness, begin- 
ning to relent, " pray beg Mr. Bev'ley's pardon for me 
again, and 'sure him the honor is mine." 

" And I would have you trust me also," Barnabas 

" Trust you? " repeated Barrymaine with a sudden 
laugh. " Gad, yes, willingly ! Only it happens I 've n-noth- 
ing left to trust you with, — no, not enough to pay the 

" And yet, if you will, you may be free," said Barnabas 
the persistent. 

" Free ! He 's at it again, Dig." 

" Believe me it is my earnest desire to help you, — 
to — " 

" Help me, sir ! a stranger ! by heaven, — no ! A 
stranger, damme ! " 

" Let us say your friend." 

" I tell you, sir," said Barrymaine, starting up un- 
steadily, " I seek no man's aid — s-scorn it ! I 'm noi one 
to weep out my misfortunes to strangers. Damme, I 'm 
man enough to manage my own affairs, what 's left of 'em. 
I want nobody's accursed pity either — pah ! " and he 

Ronald Barrymaine's Misfortunes 225 

made a gesture of repudiation so fierce that he staggered 
and recovered himself only by clutching at Mr. Smivvle's 
ready arm. " The Past, sir," said he, supporting him- 
self by that trusty arm, " the Past is done with, and the 
F-Future I '11 face alone, as I have done all along, eh, 

" But surely — " 

" Ay, surely, sir, I 'm no obj ect of charity whining 
for alms, no, by Gad ! I — I 'm — Dig, push the 
brandy ! " 

" If you would but listen — " Barnabas began again. 

"Not — not a word. Why should I? Past's dead* 
and damn the Future. Dig, pass the brandy." 

" And I tell you," said Barnabas, " that in the future 
are hope and the chance of a new life, once you are free of 

" Free of Gaunt ! Hark to that, Dig. Must be dev'lish 
drunk to talk such cursed f- folly! Why, I tell you 
again," he cried in rising passion, " that I could n't get 
free of Gaunt's talons even if I had the money, and 
mine 's all gone long ago, and half Cleone's beside, — her 
Guardian 's tied up the rest. She can't touch another 
penny without his consent, damn him ! — so I 'm done. 
The future? In the future is a debtor's prison that opens 
for me whenever Jasper Gaunt says the word. Hope? 
There can be no hope for me till Jasper Gaunt 's dead 
and shrieking in hell-fire." 

" But your debts shall be paid, — if you will." 

" Paid? Who — who 's to pay 'em? " 

" I will." 

"You! — you?" 

" Yes," nodded Barnabas, " on a condition." 

Ronald Barrymaine sank back upon the couch, staring 
at Barnabas with eyes wide and with parted lips ; then, 
leaned suddenly forward, sobered by surprise. 

" Ah-h ! " said he slowly. " I think I begin to under- 
stand. You have seen my — my sister." 

" Yes." 

226 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Do you know — how much I owe? " 

" No, but I '11 pay it, — on a condition." 

" A condition? " For a long moment the passionate 
dark eyes met and questioned the steady gray; then 
Barrymaine's long lashes fluttered and fell. 

" Of course it would be a loan. I — I 'd pay you back," 
he muttered. 

" At your own convenience." 

" And you would advance the money at once? " 

" On a condition ! " 

Once again their eyes met, and once again Barry- 
maine's dropped; his fingers clenched and unclenched 
themselves, he stirred restlessly, and, finally, spoke. 

" And your condition. Is it — Cleone? " 

" No ! " said Barnabas vehemently. 

"Then, what is it?" 

" That from this hour you give up brandy and Mr. 
Chichester — both evil things." 

" Well, and what more, — what — for yourself? How 
can this benefit you? Come, speak out, — what is your 
real motive? " 

" The hope that you may, some day, be worthy of your 
sister's love." 

" Worthy, sir ! " exclaimed Barrymaine, flushing an- 
grily. " Poverty is no crime ! " 

" No ; but there remain brandy and Mr. Chichester." 

" Ha ! would you insult m-my friend? " 

" Impossible. You have no friend, unless it be Mr. 
Smivvle here." 

" Now by heaven," began Barrymaine passionately, 
" I tell you — " 

" And I tell you that these are my only conditions," 
said Barnabas. " Accept them and you may begin a new 
life. It is in your power to become the man you might 
be, to regain the place in men's esteem that you have lost, 
for if you are but sufficiently determined, nothing is 

Now as he spoke, Barnabas beheld Barrymaine's droop- 

Ronald Barrymaine's Misfortunes 227 

ing head uplifted, his curving back grew straight, and a 
new light sprang into his eyes. 

" A new life," he muttered, " to come back to it all, 
to outface them all after their cursed sneers and slights ! 
Are you sure you don't promise too much, — are you sure 
it 's not too late? " 

" Sure and certain ! " said Barnabas. " But remember 
the chance of salvation rests only with and by yourself, 
after all," and he pointed to the half-emptied bottle. 
" Do you agree to my conditions ? " 

" Yes, yes, by God I do ! " 

" Then, friend, give me your hand. To-day I go to see 
Jasper Gaunt." 

So Ronald Barrymaine, standing square upon his feet, 
gave Barnabas his hand. But even in that moment Bar- 
nabas was conscious that the door had opened softly 
behind him, saw the light fade out of Barrymaine's eyes, 
felt the hand grow soft and lax, and turning about, beheld 
Mr. Chichester smiling at them from the threshold. 



There was a moment of strained silence, then, as Bar- 
nabas sank back on the rickety chair, Mr. Chichester 
laughed softly, and stepped into the room. 

" Salvation, was it, and a new life? " he inquired, " are 
you the one to be saved, Ronald, or Smivvle here, or 
both? " 

Ronald Barrymaine was dumb, his eyes sought the floor, 
and his pale cheek became, all at once, suffused with a 
burning, vivid scarlet. 

" I could n't help but overhear as I came upstairs," 
pursued Mr. Chichester pleasantly, " and devilish dark 
stairs they are — " 

" Though excellent for eavesdropping, it appears ! " 
added Barnabas. 

"What?" cried Barrymaine, starting up, "listening, 
were you — s-spying on me — is that your game, Chiches- 
ter? " But hereupon Mr. Smivvle started forward. 

" Now, my dear Barry," he remonstrated, " be calm — " 

" Calm ? I tell you nobody 's going to spy on me, — 
no, by heaven ! neither you, nor Chichester, nor the d-devil 

" Certainly not, my dear fellow," answered Mr. Smivvle, 
drawing Barrymaine's clenched fist through his arm and 
holding it there, " nobody wants to. And, as for you, 
Chichester — could n't come at a better time — let me 
introduce our friend Mr. Beverley — " 

" Thank you, Smivvle, but we 've met before," said Mr. 
Chichester dryly, " last time he posed as Rustic Virtue in 
hcmespun, to-day it seems he is the Good Samaritan in a 

Barrymaine Makes his Choice 229 

flowered waistcoat, very anxiously bent on saving some 
one or other — conditionally, of course ! " 

"And what the devil has it to do with you? " cried 
Barrymaine passionately. 

" Nothing, my dear boy, nothing in the world, — ex- 
cept that until to-day you have been my friend, and have 
honored me with your confidence." 

" Yes, by heavens ! So I have — utterly — utterly, — 
and what I have n't told you — y-you 've found out for 
yourself — though God knows how. N-not that I've 
anything to f-fear, — not I ! " 

" Of course not," smiled Mr. Chichester, " I am — your 
friend, Ronald, — and I think you will always remember 
that." Mr. Chichester's tone was soothing, and the pat 
he bestowed upon Barrymaine's drooping shoulder was 
gentle as a caress, yet Barrymaine flinched and drew 
away, and the hand he stretched out towards the bottle 
was trembling all at once. 

" Yes," Mr. Chichester repeated more softly than be- 
fore, " yes, I am your friend, Ronald, you must always 
remember that, and indeed I — fancy — you always will." 
So saying, Mr. Chichester patted the drooping shoulder 
again, and turned to lay aside his hat and cane. Barry- 
maine was silent, but into his eyes had crept a look — 
such a look as Barnabas had never seen — such a look as 
Barnabas could never afterwards forget; then Barry- 
maine stooped to reach for the bottle. 

" Well," said he, without looking up again, " s-suppose 
you are my friend, — what then ? " 

" Why, then, my dear fellow, hearing you are to be 
saved — on a condition — I am, naturally enough, anxious 
to know what that condition may be ? " 

" Sir," said Barnabas, " let me hasten to set your 
anxiety at rest. My condition is merely that Mr. Barry- 
maine gives up two evil things — namely, brandy and 

And now there fell a silence so utter that Barnabas 
could distinctly hear the tick of Natty Bell's great watch 

230 The Amateur Gentleman 

in his fob; a silence in which Mr. Smivvle stared with 
wide-eyed dismay, while Barrymaine sat motionless with 
his glass half-way to his lips. Then Mr. Chichester 
laughed again, but the scar glowed upon his pallid cheek, 
and the lurking demon peeped out of his narrowed eyes. 

" And for this," said he, shaking his head in gentle 
disbelief, " for this our young Good Samaritan is posi- 
tively eager to pay twenty thousand odd pounds — " 

" As a loan," muttered Barrymaine, " it would be only 
a loan, and I — I should be free of Jasper Gaunt f-for 
good and all, damn him ! " 

" Let us rather say you would try a change of 
masters — " 

"Now — by God — Chichester — !" " 

" Ah ! — ah, to be sure, Ronald, our young Good 
Samaritan having purchased the brother, would naturally 
expect the sister — " 

" Have a c-care, Chichester, I say ! " 

" The sister to be grateful, my dear boy. Pah ! don't 
you see it, Ronald? a sprat to catch a whale ! The brother 
saved, the sister's gratitude gained — Oh, most disin- 
terested, young Good Samaritan ! " 

" Ha ! by heaven, I never thought of that ! " cried Barry- 
maine, turning upon Barnabas, "is it Cleone — is it? is 

" No," said Barnabas, folding his arms — a little osten- 
tatiously, " I seek only to be your friend in this." 

" Friend ! " exclaimed Mr. Chichester, laughing again, 
" friend, Ronald? Nay, let us rather say your guardian 
angel in cords and Hessians." 

" Since you condescend to mention my boots, sir," said 
Barnabas growing polite, " may I humbly beg you to 
notice that, in spite of their polish and tassels, they are 
as strong, as serviceable for kicking purposes as those I 
wore when we last — sat at table together." 

Mr. Chichester's iron self-control wavered for a mo- 
ment, his brows twitched together, and he turned upon 
Barnabas with threatening gesture but, reading the pur- 

Barrymaine Makes his Choice 2 3 1 

pose in the calm eye and smiling lip of Barnabas, he 
restrained himself; yet seeming aware of the glowing 
mark upon his cheek, he turned suddenly and, coming to 
the dingy casement, stood with his back to the room, 
staring down into the dingy street. Then Barnabas leaned 
forward and laid his hand upon Barrymaine's, and it so 
happened it was the hand that yet held the slopping wine- 

" Think — think ! " said Barnabas earnestly, " once 
you are free of Gaunt, life will begin afresh for you, 
you can hold up your head again — " 

"Though never in London, Ronald, I fear," added Mr. 
Chichester over his shoulder. 

" Once free of Gaunt, you may attain to higher things 
than you ever did," said Barnabas. 

" Unless the dead past should happen to come to life 
again, and find a voice some day," added Mr. Chichester 
over his shoulder. 

" No, no ! " said Barnabas, feeling the quiver of the 
fingers within his own, " I tell you it would mean a new 
beginning — a new life — a new ending for you — " 

" And for Cleone ! " added Mr. Chichester over his 
shoulder, " our young, disinterested Good Samaritan 
knows she is too proud to permit a stranger to shoulder 
her brother's responsibilities — " 

" Proud, eh? " cried Barrymaine, leaping up in sud- 
den boyish passion, "well, am I not proud? Did you 
ever know me anything else — did you?" 

" Never, my dear Ronald," cried Mr. Chichester, turn- 
ing at last. " You are unfortunate, but you have always 
met disaster — so far, with the fortitude of a gentleman, 
scorning your detractors and — abominating charity." 

" C-charity ! damn you, Chichester, d' ye think I-I 'd 
accept any man's c-charity? D' you think I 'd ever drag 
Cleone to that depth — do you?" 

" Never, Barrymaine, never, I swear." 

" Why then — leave me alone, I can m-manage my own 
affairs — " 

232 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Perfectly, my dear fellow, I am sure of it." 

" Then sir," said Barnabas, rising, " seeing it really is 
no concern of yours, after all, suppose you cease to 
trouble yourself any further in the matter, and allow Mr. 
Barrymaine to choose for himself — " 

"I — I have decided ! " cried Barrymaine, " and I tel) 
you — " 

" Wait ! " said Barnabas. 

" Speak ! " said Mr. Chichester. 

" Wait ! " repeated Barnabas, " Mr. Chichester is — 
going, I think. Let us wait until we are alone." Then, 
bowing to Mr. Chichester, Barnabas opened the door 
wide. " Sir," said he, " may I venture to suggest that 
your presence is — not at all necessary? " 

" Ah ! " said Mr. Chichester, " you will certainly compel 
me to kill you, some day." 

" * Sufficient unto the day,' sir ! " Barnabas retorted ; 
" in the meantime I shall most certainly give myself the 
pleasure of kicking you downstairs unless you choose to 
walk — at once." 

As he spoke, Barnabas took a stride towards Mr. 
Chichester's rigid figure, but, in that moment, Barrymaine 
snatched up the bottle and sprang between them. 

" Ah ! — would you? " he cried, " who are you to order 
my f -friends about — and in m-my own place too ! Ha ! 
did you think you could buy me, d-did you? Did you 
think I — I 'd sacrifice my sister — did you ? Ha ! drunk, 
am I ? Well, I 'm sober enough to — to 'venge my honor 
and hers ; by God I '11 kill you ! Ah — let go, Dig ! Let 
go, I say! Did n't you hear? Tempt me with his cursed 
money, will he! Oh, let go my arm! Damn him, I say 
— I'll kill him!" 

But, as he struck, Mr. Smivvle caught his wrist, the 
bottle crashed splintering to the floor, and they were 
locked in a fierce grapple. 

" Beverley — my dear fellow — go ! " panted Mr. 
Smivvle, " must forgive — poor Barry — not himself. 
Go — go, — I can — manage him. Now Barry, do be 

Barrymaine Makes his Choice 233 

calm ! Go, my dear fellow — leave him to me — go ! " 
So, perforce, Barnabas turned away and went down the 
dingy stairs, and in his ears was the echo of the boy's 
drunken ravings and Mr. Chichester's soft laughter. 

And presently, being come into the dingy street, 
Barnabas paused to look up at the dingy house, and 
looking, sighed. 

" She said it would be c difficult, and dangerous, per- 
haps,' " said he to himself, " and indeed I think she was 

. Then he turned and went upon his way, heavy-footed 
and chin on breast. On he went, plunged in gloomy 
abstraction, turning corners at random, lost to all but 
the problem he had set himself, which was this: 

How he might save Ronald Barrymaine in spite of 
Ronald Barrymaine. 



Barnabas stumbled suddenly, dropped his cane, saw his 
hat spin through the air and roll on before him ; staggered 
sideways, was brought up by a wall, and turning, found 
three men about him, — evil-faced men whose every move 
and look held a menace. A darting hand snatched at his 
fob-seals, but Barnabas smote, swift and hard, and the 
three were reduced, for the moment, to two. Thus with 
his back to the wall stood Barnabas, fists clenched, grim 
of mouth, and with eyes quick and bright; wherefore, 
beholding him in this posture, his assailants hesitated. 
But the diamonds sparkled at them from his cravat, the 
bunch of seals gleamed at them from his fob, and the 
fallen man having risen, albeit unsteadily, they began to 
close in upon him. Then, all at once, even as he poised 
himself to meet their rush, a distant voice uttered a sharp, 
warning cry, whereat the three, spattering curses, incon- 
tinent took to their heels, and were gone with a thud 
of flying feet. 

For a moment Barnabas stood dazed by the sudden- 
ness of it all, then, stooping to recover hat and cane, 
glanced about, and saw that he was in a dirty, narrow 
street, or rather alley. Now up this alley a man was 
approaching, very deliberately, for as he came, he ap- 
peared to be perusing a small book. He was a short, 
broad-shouldered man, a mild-faced man of a sober habit 
of dress, with a broad-brimmed hat upon his head — a hat 
higher in the crown than was the custom, and a remark- 
ably nobbly stick beneath his arm; otherwise, and in all 

The Evils of Vindictiveness 235 

respects, he was a very ordinary-looking man indeed, and 
as he walked, book in hand, might have been some small 
tradesman busily casting up his profit and loss, albeit 
he had a bright and roving eye. 

Being come up with Barnabas, he stopped, closed his 
book upon his finger, touched the broad rim of his hat, 
and looked at Barnabas, or to be exact, at the third left- 
hand button of his coat. 

" Anything stole, sir? " he inquired hopefully. 

" No," answered Barnabas, " no, I think not." 

" Ah, then you won't be vantin' to mek a charge ag'in 
'em, sir? " 

" No, — besides, they 've escaped." 

" Escaped, Lord no, sir, they 've only run avay, I can 
alius put my 'ooks on 'em, — I spotted 'em, d' ye see. 
And I know 'em, Lord love you ! — like a feyther ! They 
vas Bunty Fagan, Dancin' James, and Vistlin' Dick, two 
buzmen an' a prig." 

"What do you mean? " inquired Barnabas, beginning 
to eye the man askance for all his obtrusive mildness. 

" I means two pickpockets and a thief, sir. It vas 
Vistlin' Dick as you give such a ' leveller ' to, — a rare 
pretty knock-down I vill say, sir, — never saw a cleaner 
— Oh ! they 're a bad lot, they are, 'specially Vistlin' 
Dick, an' it 's lucky for you as I 'appened to come this 

" Why, do you mean to say," said Barnabas, staring 
at the mild-faced man, " do you want me to believe that 
it was the sight of you that sent them running? " 

" Veil, there vere n't nobody else to, as I could see, 
sir," said the man, with a gentle smile and shake of the 
head. " Volks ain't partial to me in these yere parts, 
and as to them three, they 're a bad lot, they are, but 
Vistlin' Dick 's the vorst — mark my vords, 'e '11 come to 
be topped yet." 

" What do you mean by ' topped '? " 

" V'y, I means scragged, sir," answered the man, his 
roving eye glancing continually up and down the alley, 

236 The Amateur Gentleman 

" I means 'anged, sir, — Lord love you, it 's in 'is face — 
never see a more promising mug, consequent, I 've got 
Vistlin' Dick down in my little book 'ere, along vith a 
lot of other promising vuns." 

" But why in your book? " 

" Veil, d' ye see, I keeps a record of all the likely 
coves, Capital Coves as you might call 'em — " Here 
the mild man jerked his head convulsively to one side, 
rolled up his eyes, and protruded his tongue, all in hideous 
pantomime, and was immediately his placid self again. 

"Ah! you mean — hanged?" said Barnabas. 

" As ever vas, sir, capital punishment. And I goes 
round reg'lar jest to keep an eye on my capital coves. 
Lord ! I vatches over 'em all — like a feyther. Theer 's 
some volks as collects books, an' some volks as collects 
picters an' old coins, but I collects capital coves, — names 
and faces. The faces I keeps 'ere," and he tapped his 
placid forehead, " the names I keeps 'ere," and he tapped 
the little book. " It 's my trade d' ye see, and though 
there 's better trades, still there 's trades as is vorse, an* 
that 's summat, ain't it? " 

" And what might your trade be? " inquired Barnabas* 
as they walked on together along the narrow alley. 

" Veil, sir, I 'm vot they calls a bashaw of the pigs — 
but I 'm more than that." 

"Pray," said Barnabas, "what do you mean?" For 
answer the man smiled, and half drew from his pocket. 
a short staff surmounted by a crown. 

"Ah!" said Barnabas, "a Bow Street Runner?" 

" And my name is Shrig, sir, Jasper Shrig. You '11 
have heard it afore, o' course." 

" No ! " said Barnabas. Mr. Shrig seemed placidly 
surprised, and vented a gentle sigh. 

" It 's pretty veil known, in London, sir, though it 
ain't a pretty name, I '11 allow. Ye-es, I 've 'eard prettier,, 
but then it 's better than a good many, and that 's sum- 
mat, ain't it? And then, as I said afore, it 's pretty veil 

The Evils of Vindictiveness 237 

"How so?" 

" Veil, sir, there be some as 'as a leanin' to one branch 
o' the profession, and some to another, — now mine 's 

" Murders? " said Barnabas, staring. 

" Vith a werry big M, sir. V'y, Lord love you, there 's 
been more murderers took and topped through me than 
any o' the other traps in London, it 's a nat'ral gift vith 
me. Ye see, I collects 'em — afore the fact, as ye might 
say. I can smell 'em out, feel 'em out, taste 'em out, it 's 
jest a nat'ral gift." 

"But — how? What do you mean?" 

" I means as I '11 be valking along a street, say, look- 
ing at every face as I pass. Veil, all at once I '11 spot a 
cove or covess vith vot I calls a capital mug, I '11 follow 
that cove or covess, and by 'ook or by crook I '11 find out 
that there cove or covess's name, and — down it goes in 
my little book, d' ye see ? " and he tapped the little book. 

" But surely," said Barnabas, " surely they don't all 
prove to be murderers? " 

" Veil no, sir — that 's hardly to be expected, — ye see, 
some on 'em wanishes away, an' some goes an' dies, but 
they mostly turns out true capitals — if I only vaits for 
'em long enough, and — up they goes." 

" And are you always on the lookout for such faces ? " 

" Yes, sir, — v'en I ain't busy on some case. A man 
must 'ave some little relaxation, and that 's mine. Lord 
love you, sir, scarcely a day goes by that I don't spot 
one or two. I calls 'em my children, an' a werry large, 
an' a werry mixed lot they are too ! Rich an' poor, men 
an' women, — rolling in their coaches an' crawling along 
the kennel. Aha ! if you could look into my little reader 
an' see the names o' some o' my most promisin' children 
they 'd as-tonish you. I 've been to 'ave a look at a 
couple of 'em this mornin'. Aha ! it would a-maze you if 
you could look into my little reader." 

" I should like to," said Barnabas, eyeing the small, 
shabby book with a new interest. But Mr. Shrig only 

238 The Amateur Gentleman 

blinked his wide, innocent eyes, and slipping the book 
into his pocket, led the way round a sudden corner into 
another alley narrower than the last, and, if possible, 

" Where are we going? " Barnabas demanded, for Mr. 
Shrig, though always placid, had suddenly taken on an air 
that was almost alert, his bright, roving eye wandered 
more than ever, and he appeared to be hearkening to 
distant sounds. " Where are we going? " repeated 

" Gray's Inn is 'andiest, sir, and I must ask you to 
step out a bit, they 're a rough crowd as lives 'ereabouts, 
— scamps an' bunters, didlers an' cly-fakers, so I must 
ask you to step out a bit, this is a bad country for 

"Bad for you? Why?" 

" On account o' windictiveness, sir ! " 

"Of what?" 

" Windictiveness, sir — windictiveness in every shape 
an' form, but brick-ends mostly — vith a occasional chim- 

" I 'm afraid I don't understand," Barnabas began. 

" Veil then," explained Mr. Shrig as they strode along, 
" I vere the means o' four coves bein' topped d' ye see, 
'ighvay robbery vith wiolence, — 'bout a month ago, used 
to live round 'ere, they did, an' their famblies an' friends 
is windictive against me accordingly, an' werry nat'ral 
too, for 'uman natur' is only 'uman natur', ain't it? 
Werry good then. Now their windictiveness, — or as you 
might say, 'uman natur', — generally takes the shape of 
chimbley-pots and brick-ends, though I 'ave met windic- 
tiveness in the form o' b'iling vater and flat-irons, not to 
mention saucepans an' sich, afore now, and vunce a arm- 
cheer, all of vich is apt to vorry you a bit until you gets 
used to it. Then there 's knives — knives is alius awk'ard, 
and bludgeons ain't to be sneezed at, neither. But, Lord ! 
every perfession and trade 'as its drawbacks, an' there 's 
a sight o' comfort in that, ain't there? " 

The Evils of Vindictiveness 239 

All this time the eyes of Mr. Shrig were roving here, 
wandering there, now apparently glancing up at the strip 
of sky between the dingy house tops, now down at the 
cobbles beneath their feet ; also Barnabas noticed that his 
step, all at once, grew slower and more deliberate, as one 
who hesitates, uncertain as to whether he shall go on, or 
turn back. It was after one of those swift, upward 
glances, that Mr. Shrig stopped all at once, seized Barna- 
bas by the middle and dragged him into an adjacent door- 
way, as something crashed down and splintered within a 
yard of them. 

" What now — what is it? " cried Barnabas. 

" Win-dictiveness ! " sighed Mr. Shrig, shaking his head 
at the missile, " a piece o' coping-stone, thirty pound if 
a ounce — Lord ! Keep flat agin the door sir, same as me, 
they may try another — I don't think so — still they 
may, so keep close ag'in the door. A partic'lar narrer 
shave I calls it ! " nodded Mr. Shrig ; " shook ye a 
bit sir? " 

" Yes," said Barnabas, wiping his brow. 

" Ah well, it shook me — and I 'm used to windic- 
tiveness. A brick now," he mused, his eyes wandering 
again, " a brick I could ha' took kinder, bricks an' 
sich I 'm prepared for, but coping-stones — Lord love 

" But a brick would have killed you just the same — " 

" Killed me? A brick? Oh no, sir ! " 

" But, if it had hit you on the head — " 

" On the 'at sir, the 'at — or as you might say — the 
castor — this, sir," said Mr. Shrig; and glancing fur- 
tively up and down the gloomy alley he took off the 
broad-brimmed hat; "just run your ogles over this 'ere 
castor o' mine, an' you '11 understand, perhaps." 

" It 's very heavy," said Barnabas, as he took the hat. 

" Ah, it is a bit 'eavyish, sir. Peep inside of it." 

" Why," exclaimed Barnabas, " it 's lined with — " 

" Iron, sir. My own inwention ag'in windictiveness in 
the shape o' bricks an' bludgeons, an' werry useful an 

240 The Amateur Gentleman 

(fomfortin' I 've found it. But if they 're going to begin 
on me vith coping-stones, — v'y Lord ! " And Mr. Shrig 
sighed his gentle sigh, and rubbed his placid brow, and 
once more covered it with the " inwention." " And now 
sir, you 've got a pair o' good, long legs — can ye use 

" Use them, — yes. Why? " 

" Because it 's about time as we cut our stick an' run 
for it." 

" What are we to run for ? " 

" Because they 're arter me, — nine on 'em, — conse- 
quent they 're arter you too, d' ye see. There 's four on 
'em be'ind us, an' five on 'em in front. You can't see 
'em because they 're layin' low. And they 're bad uns 
all, an' they means business." 

"What — a fight?" 

" As ever vas, sir. I 've 'ad my eye on 'em some 
time. That 'ere coping-stone vas the signal." 

" Ha ! " said Barnabas, buttoning up his coat. 

" Now, are ye ready, sir? " 


" Then keep close be'ind me — go ! " With the word 
Mr. Shrig began to run, always keeping close beside the 
wall; indeed he ran so fast and was so very nimble that 
Barnabas had some ado to keep up with him. They 
had gone but a little distance when five rough-looking 
fellows started into view further up the alley, completeh r 
blocking their advance, and by the clatter of feet behind, 
Barnabas knew that their retreat was cut off, and in- 
stinctively he set his teeth, and gripped his cane more 
firmly. But on ran Mr. Shrig, keeping close beside the 
wall, head low, shoulders back, elbows well in, for all the 
world as if he intended to hurl himself upon his assailants 
in some desperate hope of breaking through them; but 
all at once, like a rabbit into his burrow, he turned short 
off in mid career, and vanished down a dark and very 
narrow entry or passage, and, as Barnabas followed, he 
heard, above the vicious thud of footsteps, hoarse cries 

The Evils of Vindictiveness 241 

of anger and disappointment. Half-way down the pas-* 
sage Mr. Shrig halted abruptly and turned, as the first 
of their pursuers appeared. 

" This '11 do ! " he panted, swinging the nobbly stick in 
his hand, " can't come on more nor two at vunce. Be 
ready vith your stick — at their eyes — poke at 'em — no 
'itting — " the rest was drowned in the echoing rush of 
heavy feet and the boom of hoarse voices. But now, 
seeing their quarry stand on the defensive, the pursuers 
checked their advance, their cries sank to growling mur- 
murs, till, with a fierce shout, one of their number rushed 
forward brandishing a heavy stick, whereupon the others 
followed, and there, in the echoing dimness, the battle was 
joined, and waxed furious and grim. 

Almost at the first onset the slender cane Barnabas 
wielded broke short off, and he was borne staggering 
back, the centre of a panting, close-locked, desperate fray. 
But in that narrow space his assailants were hampered 
by their very numbers, and here was small room for 
bludgeon-play, — and Barnabas had his fists. 

There came a moment of thudding blows, trampling 
feet, oaths, cries, — and Barnabas was free, staring 
dazedly at his broken knuckles. He heard a sudden 
shout, a vicious roar, and the Bow Street Runner, drop- 
ping the nobbly stick, tottered weakly and fell, — strove 
to rise, was smitten down again, and, in that moment, 
Barnabas was astride him; felt the shock of stinging 
blows, and laughing fierce and short, leapt in under the 
blows, every nerve and muscle braced and quivering; saw 
a scowling face, — smote it away ; caught a bony wrist, 
wrenched the bludgeon from the griping fingers, struck 
and parried and struck again with untiring arm, felt 
the press thin out before him as his assailants gave back, 
and so, stood panting. 

" Run ! Run ! " whispered Mr. Shrig's voice behind 
him. " Ve can do it now, — run ! " 

" No ! " panted Barnabas, wiping the blood from his 

242 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Run ! " cried Mr. Shrig again, " there 's a place I 
knows on close by — ve can reach it in a jiff — this vay 
— run!" 

" No ! " 

" Not run? then v'ot vill ye do? " 

"Make them!" 

"Are ye mad? Ha! — look out!" Once more the 
echoing passage roared with the din of conflict, as their 
assailants rushed again, were checked, smote and were 
smitten, and fell back howling before the thrust of the 
nobbly stick and the swing of the heavy bludgeon. 

" Now vill ye run? " panted Mr. Shrig, straightening 
the broad-brimmed hat. 

" No ! " 

" V'y then, I vill ! " which Mr. Shrig immediately pro- 
ceeded to do. 

But the scowl of Barnabas grew only the blacker, his 
lips but curled the fiercer, and his fingers tightened their 
grip upon the bludgeon as, alone now, he fronted those 
who remained of the nine. 

Now chancing to glance towards a certain spot, he 
espied something that lay in the angle of the wall, and, 
instinctively stooping, he picked up Mr. Shrig's little 
book, slipped it into his pocket, felt a stunning blow, 
and reeled back, suddenly faint and sick. And now a 
mist seemed to envelop him, but in the mist were faces 
above, below, around him, faces to be struck at. But his 
blows grew weak and ever weaker, the cudgel was torn 
from his lax grip, he staggered back on stumbling feet 
knowing he could fight no more, and felt himself caught 
by a mighty arm, saw a face near by, comely and dimpled 
of chin, blue-eyed, and with whiskers trimmed into precise 
little tufts on either cheek. Thereafter he was aware of 
faint cries and shouts, of a rushing patter like rain 
among leaves, and of a voice speaking in his ear. 

" Right about face, — march ! Easy does it ! mind 
me '00k, sir, the p'int 's oncommon sharp like. By your 
left — wheel ! Now two steps up, sir — that 's it ! Now 

The Evils of Vindictiveness 243 

three steps down, easy does it ! and 'ere we are. A cheer, 
sir, now water and a sponge ! " 

Here Barnabas, sinking back in the chair, leaned his 
head against the wall behind him, and the mist grew more 
dense, obliterating all things. 



A small, dim chamber, with many glasses and bottles 
arrayed very precisely on numerous shelves ; a very tall, 
broad-shouldered man who smiled down from the rafters 
while he pulled at a very precise whisker with his right 
hand, for his left had been replaced by a shining steel 
hook; and Mr. Shrig who shook his placid head as he 
leaned upon a long musket whose bayonet twinkled 
wickedly in the dim light ; all this Barnabas saw as, 
sighing, he opened his eyes. 

" 'E 's all right now ! " nodded the smiling giant. 

" Ha ! " exclaimed Mr. Shrig, " but vith a lump on 
'is 'ead like a negg. ' Run ! ' I sez. ' No ! ' sez 'e, — and 
'ere 's me vith vun eye a-going into mourning, and 'im 
vith a lump on 'is nob like a noo-laid eggl " 

" 'E 's game though, Jarsper," said the benevolent 

" Game ! I believe you, Corp ! " nodded Mr. Shrig. 
" < Run ! ' I sez. * No ! ' sez 'e. ' Then v'ot vill you do ? ' 
sez I. 'Make them!' sez 'e. Game? Lord love me, I 
should say so ! " Here, seeing Barnabas sit upright, Mr. 
Shrig laid by the musket and came towards him with his 
hand out. 

" Sir," said he, " when them raskels got me down they 
meant to do for me ; ah ! they 'd ha' given me m}^ quietus 
for good an' all if you 'ad n't stood 'em off. Sir, if it 
ain't too much, I should like to shake your daddle for 
that ! " 

Of Mr, Shrig' s Little Reader 245 

"But you saved my life twice," said Barnabas, clasp- 
ing the proffered hand. 

V'y the coping-stone I '11 not go for to deny, sir," 
said Mr. Shrig, stroking his smooth brow, " but t' other 
time it were my friend and pal the Corp 'ere, — Corporal 
Richard Roe, late Grenadiers. 'E 's only got an 'ook for 
ail 'and, but vith that 'ook 'e 's oncommonly 'andy, and 
as a veapon it ain't by no means to be sneezed at. No, 
'e ain't none the worse for that 'ook, though they thought 
so in the army, and it vere 'im as brought you off v'ile I 
vos a-chasing of the enemy vith 'is gun, yonder." 

" Why, then I should like to thank Corporal Richard 
Roe," said Barnabas, — (here the Corporal tugged at his 
precise and carefully trimmed whisker again), "and to 
shake his hand as well." Here the giant blushed and 
extended a huge fist. 

" Honored, sir," said he, clicking his heels together. 

" And now," said Mr. Shrig, " ve 're all a-going to drink* 
- — at my expense." 

" No, at mine," said Barnabas. 

'" Sir," said Mr. Shrig, round and placid of eye, " ven 
I says a thing I means it. Consequent you are now 
a-going to sluice your ivory vith a glass of the Vun an* 
Only, at my expense, — you must and you shall." 

" Yes,"' said Barnabas, feeling in his pockets. " I must, 
my purse is gone." 

" Purse ! " exclaimed . Mr. Shrig, his innocent eyes 
rounder than ever, " gone, sir? " 

" Stolen," nodded Barnabas. 

" Think o' that now ! " sighed Mr. Shrig, " but I ain't 
surprised, no, I ain't surprised, and — by Goles ! " 

"What now?" 

" Your cravat-sparkler ! — that 's wanished too ! " 
Barnabas felt his rumpled cravat, and nodded. " And 
your vatch, now — don't tell me as they 've took — " 

" Yes, my watch also," sighed Barnabas. 

" A great pity ! " said Mr. Shrig, " though it ain't to 
be vondered at, — not a bit." 

246 The Amateur Gentleman 

" I valued the watch greatly, because it was given me 
by a very good friend," said Barnabas, sighing again. 

" Walleyed it, hey? " exclaimed Mr. Shrig, " walleyed it, 
sir? — v'y then, 'ere it be!" and from a capacious side- 
pocket he produced Natty Bell's great watch, seals and all. 

" Why — ! " exclaimed Barnabas, staring. 

" Also your purse, sir, — not forgetting the sparkler." 
Mr. Shrig continued, producing each article in turn. 

" But — how in the world — ? " began Barnabas. 

" I took 'em from you v'ile you vos a-lookin' at my 
castor. Lord love me, a babe could ha' done it, — let 
alone a old 'and, like me ! " 

" Do you mean — ? " began Barnabas, and hesitated. 

" In my young days, sir," explained Mr. Shrig with his 
placid smile, "I vere a champion buzman, ah! and a 
prime rook at queering the gulls, too, but I ewentually 
turned honest all along of a flash, morning-sneak covess 
as got 'erself conwerted." 

" What do you mean by a morning-sneak covess? " 

" I means a area-sneak, sir, as vorks werry early in 
the morning. A fine 'andsome gal she vere, and vith 
nothing of the flash mollisher about 'er, either, though 
born on the streets, as ye might say, same as me. Veil, 
she gets con-werted, and she 's alvays napping 'er bib over 
me, — as you'd say, piping 'er eye, d'ye see? vanting 
me to turn honest and be con-werted too. ' Turn honest,' 
says she, ' and ve '11 be married ter-morrow,' says she." 

" So you turned honest and married her? " said Barna- 
bas, as Mr. Shrig paused. 

" No, sir, I turned honest and she married a coal- 
v'ipper, v'ich, though it did come a bit 'ard on me at 
first, vos all for the best in the end, for she deweloped a 
chaffer, — as you might say, a tongue, d' ye see, sir, and 
I 'm vun as is fond of a quiet life, v'en I can get it. 
Howsomever, I turned honest, and come werry near starv- 
ing for the first year, but I kept honest, and I ain't never 
repented it — so fur. So, as for the prigs, and scamps, 
and buzmen, and flash leary coves, I 'm up to all their 

Of Mr, Shrig's Little Reader 247 

dodges, 'aving been one of them, d' ye see. And now," 
said Mr. Shrig, as the big Corporal having selected divers 
bottles from his precise array, took himself off to concoct 
a jorum of the One and Only — "now sir, what do 
you think o' my pal Corporal Dick? " 

" A splendid fellow ! " said Barnabas. 

" 'E is that, sir, — so 'e is, — a giant, eh sir? " 

" A giant, yes, and handsome too ! " said Barnabas. 

" V'y you 're a sizable cove yourself, sir," nodded Mr. 
Shrig, " but you ain't much alongside my pal the Corp, 
are you? I 'm nat'rally proud of 'im, d' ye see, for 't were 
me as saved 'im." 

" Saved him from what? How? " 

" Me being only a smallish chap myself, I 've alius 'ad 
a 'ankering arter sizable coves. But I never seen a 
finer figger of a man than Corporal Dick — height, six 
foot six and a quarter, chest, fifty-eight and a narf, and 
sir — 'e were a-going to drownd it all in the River, all 
along o' losing his 'and and being drove out o' the army, 
v'ich vould ha' been a great vaste of good material, as 
ye might say, seeing as there 's so much of 'im. It vas 
a dark night, the night I found 'im, vith vind and rain, 
and there vos me and 'im a-grappling on the edge of a 
vharf — leastvays I vere a-holding onto 'is leg, d' ye see — 
ah, and a mortal 'ard struggle it vere too, and in the end 
I did n't save 'im arter all." 

" What do you mean ? " 

" I mean as it vere 'im as saved me, for v'ot vith the 
vind, and the rain, and the dark, ve lost our footing and 
over ve vent into the River together — down and down 
till I thought as ve should never come up again, but ve 
did, o' course, and then, jest as 'ard as 'e 'd struggled to 
throw 'imself in, 'e fought to get me out, so it vere 'im as 
really saved me, d' ye see? " 

" No," said Barnabas, " it was you who really saved 

" V'y, I 'm as glad as you think so, sir, only d' ye see, 
I can't svim, and it vos 'im as pulled me out. And it all 

248 The Amateur Gentleman 

come along of 'im losing 'is 'and. — come nigh to breaking 
'is 'eart to be discharged, it did." 

" Poor fellow ! " said Barnabas, " and how did he lose 
his hand? " 

" V'y, I could tell you, or you could read of it in the 
Gazette — j est three or four lines o' printing — and 
they 've spelt 'is name wrong at that, curse 'em ! But 
Corporal Dick can tell you best. Let 'im. 'Ere 'e comes, 
vith a steaming brew o' the Vun and Only." 

And indeed, at this moment the Corporal re-entered, 
bearing a jug that gave forth a most enticing and de- 
licious aroma, and upon which Mr. Shrig cast amorous 
glances, what time he reached three glasses from the mar- 
shalled array on the shelves. 

And now, sitting at the small table that stood in a snug 
corner beside the chimney, Mr. Shrig, having filled the 
three glasses with all due care, tendered one to Barnabas 
with the words : 

" Jest give that a snuff with your sneezer, sir, — 
there 's perfume, there 's fray-grance for ye ! There ain't 
a man in London as can brew a glass o' rum-punch like 
the Corp, — though 'e 'as only got vun 'and. And now, 
Corporal Dick, afore ve begin, three steamers." 

" Ay, for sure, Jarsper ! " said the Corporal ; and 
opening a small corner cupboard he took thence three new 
pipes and a paper of tobacco. 

" Will you smoke, sir? " he inquired diffidently of 

" Thank you, yes, Corporal," said Barnabas, and tak- 
ing the proffered pipe he filled and lighted it. 

Now when the pipes were in full blast, when the One 
and Only had been tasted, and pronounced by Mr. Shrig 
to be " up to the mark," he nodded to Corporal Dick with 
the words : 

" Tell our young gent 'ow you lost your 'and, Corp." 

But hereupon the Corporal frowned, shuffled his feet, 
stroked his trim whiskers with his hook, and finally ad- 
dressed Barnabas. 

Of Mr. Shrig's Little Reader 249 

" I are n't much of a talker, sir, — and it are n't much 
of a story, but if you so wish — " 

" I do so wish," said Barnabas heartily. 

" Why, very good, sir ! " Saying which the Corporal 
sat up, squared his mighty shoulders, coughed, and began : 

" It was when they Cuirassiers broke our square at 
Quatre-bras, sir, — fine fellows those Cuirassiers ! They 
rode into us, through us, over us, — the square was tot- 
tering, and it was 6 the colors — rally ! ' Ah, sir ! the 
colors means the life or death of a square at such times. 
And just then, when horses was a-trampling us and the 
air full o' the flash o' French steel, just then I see our 
colors dip and sway, and down they went. But still it 's 
' the colors — rally ! ' and there 's no colors to rally to ; 
and all the time the square is being cut to pieces. But I, 
being nearest, caught up the colors in this here left hand," 
here the Corporal raised his gleaming hook, " but a 
Cuirassier, 'e caught them too, and there 's him at one 
end o' the staff and me at t' other, pulling and hauling, 
and then — all at once he 'd got 'em. And because why? 
Because I had n't got no left 'and to 'old with. But 
I 'd got my right, and in my right was 6 Brown Bess ' 
there," and the Corporal pointed to the long musket in 
the corner. " My bayonet was gone, and there were n't 
no time to reload, so — I used the butt. Then I picked 
up the colors again and 'eld 'em high over my head, 
for the smoke were pretty thick, and, ' To the colors,' I 
shouted, ' Rally, lads, rally ! ' And oh, by the Lord, sir, — 
to hear our lads cheer! And so the square formed up 
again — what was left of it — formed up close and true 
round me and the colors, and the last thing I mind was the 
cheering. Ah ! they was fine fellows, they Cuirassiers ! " 

" So that vere the end o' the Corp's soldiering ! " nodded 
Mr. Shrig. 

" Yes," sighed the Corporal, " a one-handed soldier 
ain't much good, ye see, sir." 

" So they — throwed 'im out ! " snarled Mr. Shrig. 

" Now Jarsper," smiled the giant, shaking his head. 

250 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Why so 'ard on the sarvice? They give me my 

" And your dis-charge ! " added Mr. Shrig. 

" And a — pension," said the soldier. 

" Pension," sniffed Mr. Shrig, " a fine, large vord, Dick, 
as means werry little to you ! " 

" And they mentioned me in the Gazette, Jarsper," said 
the Corporal looking very sheepish, and stroking his 
whisker again with his hook. 

"And a lot o' good that done you, didn't it? Your 
'eart vos broke the night I found you — down by the 

" Why, I did feel as I were n't much good, Jarsper, 
I '11 admit. You see, I 'ad n't my hook then, sir. But 
I think I 'd ha' give my other 'and — ah ! that I would — 
to ha' been allowed to march on wi' the rest o' the lads to 

" So you vos a-going to throw yerself into the River ! " 

" I were, Jarsper, should ha' done it but for you, 

" But you did n't do it, so later on ve took this 'ere 

" You did, Jarsper — " 

" Ve took it together, Dick. And werry veil you 're 
a,-doing vifch it, for both of us." 

" I do my best, Jarsper." 

" V'ich could n't be bettered, Dick. Then look how 
you 'elp me vith my cases." 

"Do I, Jarsper?" said the Corporal, his blue eyes 

" That you do, Dick. And now I 've got another case 
as I 'm a-vaiting for, — a extra-special Capital case it is 
too ! " 

" Another murder, Jarsper ? " 

" Ah, a murder, Dick, — a murder as ain't been com- 
mitted yet, a murder as I 'm expecting to come off in — 
say a month, from information received this 'ere werry 
arternoon. A murder, Dick, as is going to be done by 

Of Mr. Shrig' s Little Reader 251 

a capital cove as I spotted over a month ago. Now v'ot 
I 'm going to tell you is betwixt us — private and confi- 
dential and — " But here Barnabas pushed back his chair. 

" Then perhaps I had better be going? " said he. 

" Going, sir? and for v'y? " 

" That you may be more private, and talk more freely.' 5 

" Sir," said Mr. Shrig. " I knows v'en to speak and 
v'en not. My eyes tells me who I can trust and who not. 
And, sir, I 've took to you, and so 's the Corp, — ain't 
you, Dick? " 

" Yes, sir," said the giant diffidently.. 

" Sir," pursued Mr. Shrig, " you 're a Nob, I know, a 
Corinthian by your looks, a Buck, sir, a Dash, a 'eavy 
Toddler, but also, I takes the liberty o' telling you as 
you 're only a man, arter all, like the rest on us, and it 's 
that man as I 'm a-talking to. Now v'en a man 'as stood 
up for me, shed 'is good blood for me, I makes that man 
my pal, and my pal I alius trusts." 

" And you shall find me worthy of your confidence," 
said Barnabas, " and there 's my hand on it, though, in- 
deed, you hardly know me — really." 

" More than you think, sir. Besides, it ain't v'ot a. 
cove tells me about 'imself as matters, nor v'ot other coves 
tell me about a cove, as matters, it 's v'ot a cove carries in 
'is face as I goes by, — the cock of 'is eye, an' all the rest or 
it. And then, I knows as your name 's Barnabas Barty — " 

"Barty! — you know that?" exclaimed Barnabas, 
starting, — " how — how in the world did you find out? '" 

" Took the liberty to look at your vatch, sir." 

" Watch ! " said Barnabas, drawing it from his fob,, 
" what do you mean ? " 

" Give it 'ere, and I '11 show ye, sir." So saying, Mr. 
Shrig took the great timepiece and, opening the back,, 
handed it to Barnabas. And there, in the cavity between 
the two cases was a very small folded paper, and upon 
this paper, in Natty Bell's handwriting, these words: 

" To my dear lad Barnabas Barty, hoping that he may prove 
as fine a gentleman as he is — a man." 

2 52 The Amateur Gentleman 

Having read this, Barnabas folded the paper very 
gently, and putting it back, closed the watch, and slipped 
it into his fob. 

" And now," said Mr. Shrig, exhaling a vast cloud of 
smoke, " afore I go on to tell you about this 'ere murder 
as I 'm a-vaiting for, I must show ye my little reader." 
Here Mr. Shrig thrust a hand into his pocket, — then his 
pipe shivered to fragments on the stone floor and he 
started up, mouth agape and eyes staring. 

" Lord, Jarsper ! " cried the Corporal, " what is it, 
comrade? " 

" It 's gone, Dick ! " he gasped, " my little reader 's 
been stole." 

But now, even as he turned towards the door, Barnabas 
laid a detaining hand upon his arm. 

" Not stolen — lost ! " said he, " and indeed, I 'm not 
at all surprised ! " Here Barnabas smiled his quick, bright 

" Sir — sir? " stammered Mr. Shrig, " oh, Pal, d' ye 
mean — ? " 

" That I found it, yes," said Barnabas, " and here 
it is." 

Mr. Shrig took his little book, opened it, closed it, 
thrust it into his pocket, and took it out again. 

" Sir," said he, catching Barnabas by the hand, " this 
here little book is more to me nor gold or rubies. Sir, 
you are my pal, — and consequent the Corp's also, and 
this 'ere chaffing-crib is alius open to you. And if 
ever you want a man at your back — I 'm ydur man, 
and v'en not me — there r s my pal Dick, ain't there, 
Di— " 

Mr. Shrig stopped suddenly and stood with his head 
to one side as one that listens. And thus, upon the still- 
ness came the sound of one who strode along the narrow 
passage-way outside, whistling as he went. 

" ' Sally in our Alley,' I think? " said Mr. Shrig. 

" Yes," said Barnabas, wondering. 

" V'ich means as I 'm vanted, ah ! — and vanted pre- 

Of Mr. Shrig' s Little Reader 253 

cious qvick too," saying which, Mr. Shrig caught up his 
" castor," seized the nobbly stick, crossed to the door, 
and came back again. 

" Dick," said he, " I '11 get you to look after my 
little reader for me, — I ain't a-going to risk losing it 

" Right you are, Jarsper," nodded the Corporal. 

" And sir," continued Mr. Shrig, turning towards Bar- 
nabas with the book in his hand, " you said, I think, as 
you 'd like to see what I 'd got inside o' this 'ere. — If 
so be you 're in the same mind about it, why — 'ere it is." 
And Mr. Shrig laid the little book on the table before 
Barnabas. " And v'ot 's more, any time as you 're pass- 
ing, drop in to the ' Gun,' and drink a glass o' the Vun 
and Only vith Dick and me." So Mr. Shrig nodded, 
unlocked the door, shut it very gently behind him, and his 
footsteps died away along the echoing passage. 

Then, while the Corporal puffed at his long pipe, Bar- 
nabas opened the little book, and turning the pages hap- 
hazard presently came to one where, painfully written in 
a neat, round hand, he read this : 





Date of 


Date of 

James Aston (Porter) . . 
Digbeth Andover (Gent) . 
John Barnes (Sailor) . . . 
Sir Richard Brock (Bart.) . 
Thomas Beal (Tinker) . . 

Feb. 2 
March 3 
March 10 

April 5 
March 23 

March 30 
April 28 
May 3 
April 15 


April 5 
May 5 
May 30 
May 30 

There were many such names all carefully set down 
in alphabetical order, and Barnabas read them through 
with perfunctory interest. But — half-way down the list 
of B's his glance was suddenly arrested, his hands clenched 
themselves, and he grew rigid in his chair — staring wide- 
eyed at a certain name. In a while he closed the little book, 

254 The Amateur Gentleman 

jet sat there very still, gazing at nothing in particular, 
until the voice of the Corporal roused him somewhat. 

" A wonderful man, my comrade Jarsper, sir? " 

" Yes," said Barnabas absently. 

" Though he would n't ha' passed as a Grenadier, — 
not being tall enough, you see." 

" No," said Barnabas, his gaze still fixed. 

" But as a trap, sir, — as a limb o' the law, he ain't to 
be ekalled — nowheres nor nohow." 

" No," said Barnabas, rising. 

" What? are you off, sir — must you march? " 

" Yes," said Barnabas, taking up his hat, " yes, I must 


" 'Olborn way, sir? " 

'" Yes." 

" Why then — f oiler me, sir, — front door takes you 
into Gray's Inn Lane — by your left turn and 'Olborn 
lays straight afore you, — this way, sir." But, being 
come to the front door of the " Gun," Barnabas paused 
upon the threshold, lost in abstraction again, and staring 
at nothing in particular while the big Corporal watched 
him with a growing uneasiness. 

" Is it your 'ead, sir? " he inquired suddenly. 

" Head? " repeated Barnabas. 

" Not troubling you; is it, sir? " 

" No, — oh no, thank you," answered Barnabas, and 
stretched out his hand. " Good-by, Corporal, I 'm glad 
to have met you, and the One and Only was excellent." 

" Thankee, sir. I hope as you '11 do me and my com- 
rade the honor to try it again — frequent. Good-by, 
sir." But standing to watch Barnabas as he went, the 
Corporal shook his head and muttered to himself, for 
Barnabas walked with a dragging step, and his chin upon 
his breast. 

Holborn was still full of the stir and bustle, the rush 
and roar of thronging humanity, but now Barnabas was 
blind and deaf to it all, for wherever he looked he seemed 
to see the page of Mr. Shrig's little book with its list of 

Of Mr. Shrigs Little Reader 255 

carefully written names, 
B. — thus : 

those names beginning with 



Date of 


Date of 

Sir Richard Brock (Bart.) . 
Thomas Beal (Tinker) . . 
Ronald Barrymaine . . . 

April 5 

March 23 

May 12 

May 3 
April 15 


May 30 
May 30 



It was about two o'clock in the afternoon that Barnabas 
knocked at the door of the Viscount's chambers in Half- 
moon Street and was duly admitted by a dignified, albeit 
somewhat mournful gentleman in blue and silver, who, 
after a moment of sighing hesitancy, ushered him into a 
small reception room where sat a bullet-headed man with 
one eye and a remarkably bristly chin, a sinister looking 
person who stared very hard with his one eye, and sucked 
very hard, with much apparent relish and gusto, at the 
knob of the stick he carried. At sight of this man the 
mournful gentleman averted his head, and vented a sound 
which, despite his impressive dignity, greatly resembled a 
sniff, and, bowing to Barnabas, betook himself upstairs 
to announce the visitor. Hereupon the one-eyed man hav- 
ing surveyed Barnabas from head to foot with his solitary 
orb, drew the knob of his stick from his mouth, dried it 
upon his sleeve, looked at it, gave it a final rub, and 

" Sir," said he in a jovial voice that belied his sinister 
aspect, " did you 'ear that rainbow sniff? " 

" Rainbow? " said Barnabas. 

" Well, — wallet, then, — footman — the orna-mental 
cove as jest popped you in 'ere. Makes one 'undred and 
eleven of 'em ! " 

" One hundred and eleven what ? " 

" Sniffs, sir, — s-n-i-double-f-s ! I ? ve took the trouble 
to count 'em, — nothing else to do. I ain't got a word but 
of 'im yet, an' I 've been sittin' 'ere ever since eight o'clock 

Of the Duty of Fathers 257 

I 'm a conwivial cock, I am, — a sociable cove, 
yes, sir, a s-o-s-h-able cove as ever wore a pair o' boots. 
Wot I sez is, — though a bum, why not a sociable bum, 
and try to make things nice and pleasant, and I does my 
best, give you my word! But Lord! all my efforts is 
wasted on that 'ere rainbow — nothing but sniffs ! " 

" Why then — who — what are you ? " 

" I 'm Perks and Condy, wines and sperrits, — eighty- 
five pound, eighteen, three — that 's me, sir." 

" Do you mean that you are — in possession — here? " 

" Just that, sir, — ever since eight o'clock s'morning — - 
and nothing but sniffs — so fur." Here the bullet-headed 
man nodded and eyed the knob of his stick hungrily. 
But at this moment the door opened, and the dignified 
(though mournful) gentleman appeared, and informed 
Barnabas (with a sigh) that " his Lordship begged Mr. 
Beverley would walk upstairs." 

Upstairs accordingly Barnabas stepped, and guided 
by a merry whistling, pushed open a certain door, and so 
found the Viscount busily engaged in the manufacture of 
a paper dart, composed of a sheet of the Gazette, in the 
midst of which occupation he paused to grip Barnabas by 
the hand. 

" Delighted to see you, Bev," said he heartily, " pray 
sit down, my dear fellow — sit anywhere — no, not there 
— that 's the toast, deuce take it ! Oh, never mind a chair, 
bed '11 do, eh? Yes, I 'm rather late this morning, Bev, — 
but then I was so late last night that I was devilish early, 
and I 'm making up for it, — must have steady nerves 
for the fifteenth, you know. Ah, and that reminds me ! " 
Here the Viscount took up his unfinished dart and sighed 
over it. " I 'm suffering from a rather sharp attack 
of Romanism, my dear fellow, my Honored Parent has 
been at it again, Bev, and then, I dropped two hundred 
pounds in Jermyn Street last night." 

" Dropped it ! Do you mean you lost it, or were you 
robbed? " inquired Barnabas the Simple. Now when he 
said this, the Viscount stared at him incredulously, but, 

258 The Amateur Gentleman 

meeting the clear gaze of the candid gray eyes, he smiled 
all at once and shook his head. 

" Gad ! " he exclaimed, " what a strange fellow you 
are, Bev. And yet I would n't have you altered, no, 
damme ! you 're too refreshing. You ask me 6 did I lose 
it, or was I robbed ? ' I answer you, — both, my' dear 
fellow. It was a case of sharps and flats, and — I was the 

" Ah, — you mean gambling, Dick? " 

" Gambling, Bev, — at a hell in Jermyn Street." 

" Two hundred pounds is a great deal of money 
to lose at cards," said Barnabas, shaking his head 

" Humph ! " murmured the Viscount, busied upon his 
paper dart again, " you should congratulate me, I think, 
that it was no more, — might just as easily have been two 
thousand, you see, indeed I wonder it was n't. Egad ! the 
more I think of it, the more fortunate I consider myself. 
Yes, I certainly think you should congratulate me. Now 
? — watch me hit Sling ! " and the Viscount poised his com- 
pleted dart. 

" Captain Slingsby — here ? " exclaimed Barnabas, 
glancing about. 

" Under the settee, yonder," nodded the Viscount, 
" wrapped up in the table-cloth." 

" Table-cloth ! " repeated Barnabas. 

" By way of military cloak," explained the Viscount. 
" You see — Sling was rather — mellow, last night, and 
— at such times he always imagines he 's campaigning 
again — insists upon sleeping on the floor." 

Now, looking where the Viscount pointed, Barnabas 
espied the touzled head of Captain Slingsby of the Guards 
protruding from beneath the settee, and reposing upon a 
cushion. The Captain's features were serene, and his 
breathing soft and regular, albeit deepening, ever and 
anon, into a gentle snore. 

" Poor old Sling ! " said the Viscount, leaning forward 
the better to aim his missile, " in two hours' time he must 

Of the Duty of Fathers 259 

go and face the Ogre, — poor old Sling ! Now watch 
me hit him ! " So saying Viscount Devenham launched 
his paper dart which, gliding gracefully through the air, 
buried its point in the Captain's whisker, whereupon that 
warrior, murmuring plaintively, turned over and fell once 
more gently a-snoring. 

" Talking about the Ogre — " began the Viscount. 

" You mean — Jasper Gaunt ? " Barnabas inquired. 

" Precisely, dear fellow, and, talking of him, did you 
happen to notice a — fellow, hanging about downstairs, — 
a bristly being with one eye, Bev? " 

" Yes, Dick." 

" Ha ! " said the Viscount nodding, " and talking of him, 
brings me back to my Honored Roman — thus, Bev. 
Chancing to find myself in — ha — hum — a little diffi- 
culty, a — let us say — financial tightness, Bev, I imme- 
diately thought of my father, which, — under the cir- 
cumstances was, I think, very natural — and filial, my 
dear fellow. I said to myself, here is a man, the author 
of my being, who, though confoundedly Roman, is still my 
father, and, as such, owes certain duties to his son, sacred 
duties, Bev, not to be lightly esteemed, blinked, or set 
aside, — eh, Bev? " 

" Undoubtedly ! " said Barnabas. 

" I, therefore, ventured to send him a letter, post- 
haste, gently reminding him of those same duties, and 
acquainting him with my — ah — needy situation, — 
which was also very natural, I think." 

" Certainly ! " said Barnabas, smiling. 

" But — would you believe it, my dear fellow, he wrote* 
or rather, indited me an epistle, or, I should say, indict- 
ment, in his most Roman manner which — but egad ! I 'II 
read it to you, I have it here somewhere." And the 
Viscount began to rummage among the bedclothes, to feel 
and fumble under pillow and bolster, and eventually 
dragged forth a woefully crumpled document which he 
smoothed out upon his knees, and from which he began 
to read as follows: 

260 The Amateur Gentleman 

" ' My dear Horatio.' 
" As soon as I saw that ' t-i-o,' Bev, I knew it was no 
go. Had it been merely a-c-e I should have nourished 
hopes, but the ' t-i-o ' slew 'e,m — killed 'em stone dead 
and prepared me for a screed in my Honored Roman's 
best style, bristling with the Divine Right of Fathers, and, 
Bev — I got it. Listen : 

u ' Upon reading your long and very eloquent letter, 
I was surprised to learn, firstly, that you required 
money, and secondly to observe that you committed 
only four solecisms in spelling,' 

(" Gives me one at the very beginning, you '11 notice, 

" 6 As regards the money, you will, I am sure, be 
amazed, nay astounded, to learn that you have already 
exceeded your allowance by some five hundred 
pounds — ' 

(" So I was, Bev, begad — I thought it was eight.) 

" 6 As regards your spelling — ' 

(" Ah ! here he leads again with his left, and gets one in, 
— low, Bev, low!) 

" ? As regards your spelling, as you know, I admire 
originality in all things; but it has, hitherto, been 
universally conceded that the word " eliminate " shall 
not and cannot begin with the letters i-1-1! "Van- 
quish " does not need a k. " Apathy " is spelled with 
but one p — while never before have I beheld " an- 
guish " with a w.' 

(" Now, Bev, that 's what I call coming it a bit too 
strong ! " sighed the Viscount, shaking his head ; * an- 
guish ' is anguish however you spell it ! And, as for the 
others, let me tell you when a fellow has a one-eyed being 
with bristles hanging about his place, he is n't likely to be 
over particular as to his p's and q's, no, damme ! Let 's 

Of the Duty of Fathers 261 

see, where were we? ah! here it is, — 'anguish' with a 

" c I quite agree with your remarks, viz. that a 
father's duties to his son are sacred and holy — ' 

("This is where I counter, Bev, very neatly, — listen!) 
He quite agrees that, — 

u 6 — a father's duties to his son are sacred and 
holy, and not to be lightly esteemed, blinked, or set 
aside — ' 

("Aha! had him there, Bev, — inside his guard, eh?) 

" * I also appreciate, and heartily endorse your state- 
ment that it is to his father that a son should naturally 
turn for help — ' 

(" Had him again — a leveller that time, egad!) 

" ' naturally turn for help, but, when the son is con- 
stantly turning, then, surely, the father may occa- 
sionally turn too, like the worm. The simile, though 
unpleasant, is yet strikingly apt.' 

( " Hum ! there he counters me and gets one back, I sup- 
pose, Bev? Oh, I '11 admit the old boy is as neat and quick 
with his pen as he used to be with his hands. He ends 
like this) : 

" ' I rejoice to hear that you are well in health, and 
pray that, despite the forthcoming steeplechase, dan- 
gerous as I hear it is, you may so continue. Upon this 
head I am naturally somewhat anxious, since I possess 
only one son. And I further pray that, wilfully reck- 
less though he is, he may yet be spared to be worthy 
of the name that will be his when I shall have risen 
beyond it.' 

" ' Bamborough and Revelsden.' " 

The Viscount sighed, and folded up his father's letter 
rather carefully. 

" He 's a deuced old Roman, of course," said he, " and 

262 The Amateur Gentleman 

yet — ! " Here the Viscount turned, and slipped the 
letter back under his pillow with a hand grown suddenly 
gentle. " But there you are, Bev ! Not a word about 
money, — so downstairs Bristles must continue to sit 
until — " 

" If," said Barnabas diffidently, " if you would allow 
me to lend — " 

" No, no, Bev — though I swear it 's uncommon good 
of you. But really I could n't allow it. Besides, Jerning- 
ham owes me something, I believe, at least, if he does n't 
he did, and it 's all one anyway. I sent the Imp over to 
him an hour ago; he '11 let me have it, I know. Though I 
thank you none the less, my dear fellow, on my soul I do ! 
But — oh deuce take me — you 've nothing to drink ! 
what will you take — ? " 

" Nothing, thanks, Dick. As a matter of fact, I came 
to ask you a favor — " 

" Granted, my dear fellow ! " 

" I want you to ask Captain Slingsby to introduce me 
to Jasper Gaunt." 

"Ah?" said the Viscount, coming to his elbow, "you 
mean on behalf of that — " 

" Of Barrymaine, yes." 

" It 's — it 's utterly preposterous ! " fumed the 

" So you said before, Dick." 

" You mean to — go on with it ? " 

" Of course ! " 

" You are still determined to befriend a — " 

" More than ever, Dick." 

"For — Her sake?" 

" For Her sake. Yes, Dick," said Barnabas, beginning 
to frown a little. " I mean to free him from Gaunt, and 
rescue him from Chichester, — if I can." 

" But Chichester is about the only friend he has left, 

" On the contrary, I think Chichester is his worst 

Of the Duty of Fathers 263 

" But — my dear fellow ! Chichester is the only one 
who has stood by him in his disgrace, though why, I can't 

" I think I can tell you the reason, and in one word," 
said Barnabas, his face growing blacker. 

" Well, Bev, — what is it? " 

" Cleone ! " The Viscount started. 

" What, — you think — ? Oh, impossible ! The fellow 
would never have a chance, she despises him, I know." 

" And fears him too, Dick." 

"Fears him? Gad! what do you mean, Bev?" 

" I mean that, unworthy though he may be, she idolizes 
her brother," 

" Half-brother, Bev." 

" And for his sake, would sacrifice her fortune, — ah ! 
and herself ! " 


" Well, Dick, Chichester knows this, and is laying his 
plans accordingly." 


" He 's teaching Barrymaine to drink, for one thing — " 

" He did n't need much teaching, Bev." 

" Then, he has got him in his power, — somehow or 
other, anyhow, Barrymaine fears him, I know. When 
the time comes, Chichester means to reach the sister 
through her love for her brother, and — before he shall 
do that, Dick — " Barnabas threw up his head and 
clenched his fists. 

"Well, Bev?" 

« I '11 _ kill him, Dick." 

" You mean — fight him, of course? " 

" It would be all one," said Barnabas grimly. 

" And how do you propose to — go about the matter 
— to save Barrymaine?" 

" I shall pay off his debts, first of all." 

"And then?" 

" Take him away with me." 


264 The Amateur Gentleman 

" To-morrow, if possible — the sooner the better." 

" And give up the race, Bev? " 

" Yes," said Barnabas, sighing, " even that if need 

Here the Viscount lay back among his pillows and 
stared up at the tester of the bed, and his gaze was still 
directed thitherwards when he spoke: 

" And you would do all this — " 

" For — Her sake," said Barnabas softly, " besides, I 
promised, Dick." 

" And you have seen her — only once, Bev ! " 

" Twice, Dick." 

Again there was silence while the Viscount stared up 
at the tester and Barnabas frowned down at the clenched 
fist on his knee. 

" Gad ! " said the Viscount suddenly, " Gad, Beverley, 
what a deuced determined fellow you are ! " 

" You see — I — love her, Dick." 

" And by the Lord, Bev, shall I tell you what I begin 
to think? " 

" Yes, Dick." 

" Well, I begin to think that in spite of — er — me, and 
hum — all the rest of 'em, in spite of everything — her- 
self included, if need be, — you '11 win her yet." 

"And shall I tell you what I begin to think, Dick?" 

" Yes." 

" I begin to think that you have never — loved her at 

" Eh? " cried the Viscount, starting up very suddenly, 
" what ? — never lov — oh, Gad, Beverley ! what the deuce 
should make you think that? " 

" Clemency ! " said Barnabas. 

The Viscount stared, opened his mouth, shut it, ran 
his fingers through his hair, and fell flat upon his pillows 

" So now," said Barnabas the persistent, " now you 
know why I am so anxious to meet Jasper Gaunt." 

" Gaunt ! " said the Viscount dreamily, " Gaunt ! " 

Of the Duty of Fathers 265 

" Captain Slingsby has to see him this afternoon, — at 
least so you said, and I was wondering — " 

" Slingsby ! Oh, egad I forgot ! so he has, — curricle 's 
ordered for half-past three. Will you oblige me by prod- 
ding him with your cane, Bev? Don't be afraid, — poke 
away, my dear fellow, Sling takes a devil of a lot of 

Thus admonished, Barnabas presently succeeded in 
arousing the somnolent Slingsby, who, lifting a drowsy 
head, blinked sleepily, and demanded in an injured 
tone : 

" Wha' the dooce it was all about, b'gad? " Then hav- 
ing yawned prodigiously and come somewhat to himself, 
he proceeded to crawl from under the settee, when, catch- 
ing sight of Barnabas, he sprang lightly to his feet and 
greeted him cordially. 

"Ah, Beverley!" he cried, — "how goes it? Glad 
you woke me — was having a devil of a dream. Thought 
the ' Rascal ' had strained his ' off ' fore-leg, and was out 
of the race ! What damnable things dreams are, b'gad ! " 

" My dear Sling," said the Viscount, " it is exactly a 
quarter past three." 

"Oh, is it, b'gad! Well?" 

" And at four o'clock I believe you have an appoint- 
ment with Gaunt." 

" Gaunt ! " repeated the Captain, starting, and Barna- 
bas saw all the light and animation die out of his face, 
" Gaunt, — yes, I — b'gad ! — I 'd forgotten, Devenham." 

" You ordered your curricle for half-past three, did n't 

" Yes, and I 've no time to bathe — ought to shave, 
though, and oh, damme, — look at my cravat ! " 

" You '11 find everything you need in my dressing-room, 

The Captain nodded his thanks, and forthwith vanished 
into the adjacent chamber, whence he was to be heard 
at his ablutions, puffing and blowing, grampus-like. To 
whom thus the Viscount, raising his voice: 

266 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Oh, by the way, Sling, Beverley wants to go with 
you." Here the Captain stopped, as it seemed in the 
very middle of a puff, and when he spoke it was in a tone 
of hoarse incredulity : 

" Eh, — b'gad, what 's that? " 

" He wants you to introduce him to Jasper Gaunt." 

Here a sudden explosive exclamation, and, thereafter, 
the Captain appeared as in the act of drying himself, his 
red face glowing from between the folds of the towel while 
he stared from the Viscount to Barnabas with round eyes. 

" What ! " he exclaimed at last, " you, too, Beverley ! 
Poor devil, have you come to it — and so soon? " 

" No," said Barnabas, shaking his head, " I wish to 
see him on behalf of another — " 

"Eh? Another? Oh — !" 

" On behalf of Mr. Ronald Barrymaine." 

" Of Barrym — " Here the Captain suddenly fell to 
towelling himself violently, stopped to stare at Barnabas 
again, gave himself another futile rub or two, and, finally, 
dropped the towel altogether. " On behalf of — oh 
b'gad ! " he exclaimed, and incontinent vanished into the 
dressing-room. But, almost immediately he was back 
again, this time wielding a shaving brush. " Wish to 
see — Gaunt, do you ? " he inquired. 

" Yes," said Barnabas.^ 

" And," said the Captain, staring very hard at the 
shaving brush, " not — on your own account ? " 

" No," answered Barnabas. 

" But on behalf — I think you said — of — " 

" Of Ronald Barrymaine," said Barnabas. 

" Oh ! " murmured the Captain, and vanished again. 
But now Barnabas followed him. 

" Have you any objection to my going with you? " 
he inquired. 

" Not in the least," answered the Captain, making 
hideous faces at himself in the mirror as he shaved, " oh, 
no — delighted, 'pon my soul, b'gad — only — " 


Of the Duty of Fathers 267 

" Only, if it 's time you 're going to ask for — it 's no 
go, my boy — hard-fisted old rasper, you know the say- 
ing, — (Bible, I think), figs, b'gad, and thistles, bread 
from stones, but no mercy from Jasper Gaunt." 

" I don't seek his mercy," said Barnabas. 

" Why, then, my dear Beverley — ha ! there 's Jenk 
come up to say the curricle 's at the door." 

Sure enough, at the moment, the Viscount's gentleman 
presented himself to announce the fact, albeit mournfully 
and with a sigh. He was about to bow himself out again 
when the Viscount stayed him with an upraised finger. 

" Jenkins," said he, " my very good Jenk ! " 

" Yes, m' lud? " said Jenkins. 

" Is the person with the — ah — bristles — still down- 
stairs? " 

" He is, m' lud," said Jenkins, with another sigh. 

" Then tell him to possess his soul in patience, Jenk, — 
for I fear he will remain there a long, long time." 




You don't mind if we — drive about a bit, do you, 
Beverley? " 

" Not in the least." 

"I — er — I generally go the longest way round when 
I have to call on — " 

"On Gaunt?" 

" Yes." 

Now as they went, Barnabas noticed that a change had 
come over his companion, his voice had lost much of its 
jovial ring, his eye its sparkle, while his ruddy cheeks 
were paler than their wont; moreover he was very silent, 
and sat with bent head and with his square shoulders 
slouched dejectedly. Therefore Barnabas must needs 
cast about for some means of rousing him from this 

" You drive a very handsome turnout," said he at last. 

" It is neat, is n't it ? " nodded Slingsby, his eye 

" Very ! " said Barnabas, " and the horses — " 

" Horses ! " cried the Captain, almost himself again, 
" ha, b'gad — there 's action for you — and blood too ! 
I was a year matching 'em. Cost me eight hundred 
guineas — and cheap at the money — but — " 


" After all, Beverley, they — are n't mine, you see. 5 

"Not yours?" 

" No. They 're — his ! " 

" You mean — Gaunt's? " 

The Captain nodded gloomily. 


The Luck of Captain Slingsby 269 

" Yes," said he, " my horses are his, my curricle 's his, 
my clothes are his — everything 's his. So am I, b'gad ! 
Oh, you need n't look so infernal incredulous — fact, I 
assure you. And, when you come to think of it — it's 
all cursed humorous, isn't it?" and here the Captain 
contrived to laugh, though it rang very hollow, to be 

" You owe — a great deal then? " said Barnabas. 

"Owe?" said the Captain, turning to look at him, 
" I 'm in up to my neck, and getting deeper. Owe ! B'gad, 
Beverley — I believe you ! " But now, at sight of grave- 
faced Barnabas, he laughed again, and this time it sounded 
less ghoul-like. " Debt is a habit," he continued senten- 
tiously, " that grows on one most damnably, and creditors 
are the most annoying people in the world — so con- 
foundedly unreasonable ! Of course I pay 'em — now and 
then — deserving cases, y' know. Fellow called on me 
t' other day, — seemed to know his face. ' Who are you ? ' 
says I. ' I 'm the man who makes your whips, sir,' says 
he. ' And devilish good whips too ! ' says I, * how much 
do I owe you?' 'Fifteen pounds, sir,' says he, 'I 
would n't botker you only ' — well, it seemed his wife 
was sick — fellow actually blubbered ! So of course I 
rang for my rascal Danby, Danby 's my valet, y' know. 
* Have you any money, Danby? ' says I. - No sir,' says 
he ; queer thing, but Danby never has, although I pay him 
regularly — devilish improvident fellow, Danby ! So I 
went out and unearthed Jerningham — and paid the fel- 
low on the spot — only right, y' know." 

" But why not pay your debts with your own money? " 
Barnabas inquired. 

" For the very good reason that it all went, — ages 

" Why, then," said Barnabas, " earn more." 

" Eh? " said the Captain, staring, " earn it? My dear 
Beverley, I never earned anything in my life, except my 
beggarly pay, and that is n't enough even for my cravats." 

"Well, why not begin?" 

270 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Begin? To earn money? How? " 

" You might work," suggested Barnabas. 

" Work? " repeated the Captain, starting, " eh, what? 
Oh, I see, you 're j oking, of course, — deuced quaint, 

" No, I 'm very serious," said Barnabas thoughtfully. 

" Are you though ! But what the deuce kind of work 
d' you suppose I 'm fit for? " 

" All men can work ! " said Barnabas, more thought- 
fully than before. 

" Well, — I can ride, and shoot, and drive a coach with 
any one." 

" Anything more? " 

" No, — not that I can think of." 

" Have you never tried to work, then, — hard work, 
I mean? " 

" Oh Lord, no ! Besides, I 've always been too busy, 
y' know. I 've never had to work. Y' see, as luck would 
have it, I was born a gentleman, Beverley." 

" Yes," nodded Barnabas, more thoughtful than ever, 
" but — what is a gentleman ? " 

" A gentleman ? Why — let me think ! " said the Cap- 
tain, manoeuvring his horses skilfully as they swung into 
the Strand. 

And when he had thought as far as the Savoy he 
spoke : 

" A gentleman," said he, " is a fellow who goes to a 
university, but does n't have to learn anything ; who goes 
out into the world, but does n't have to — work at any- 
thing; and who has never been blackballed at any of the 
clubs. I 've done a good many things in my time, but 
I 've never had to work." 

" That is a great pity ! " sighed Barnabas. 

" Oh ! is it, b'gad ! And why? " 

" Because hard work ennobles a man," said Barnabas. 

" Always heard it was a deuce of a bore ! " murmured 
the Captain. 

" Exertion," Barnabas continued, growing a little di- 

The Luck of Captain Slingsby 271 

dactic perhaps, " exertion is — life. By idleness come 
degeneration and death." 

" Sounds cursed unpleasant, b'gad ! " said the Captain. 

" The work a man does lives on after him," Barnabas 
continued, " it is his monument when he is no more, far 
better than your high-sounding epitaphs and stately 
tombs, yes, even though it be only the furrow he has 
ploughed, or the earth his spade has turned." 

" But, — my dear fellow, you surely would n't suggest 
that I should take up — digging? " 

" You might do worse," said Barnabas, " but — " 

" Ha ! " said the Captain, " well now, supposing I was 
a — deuced good digger, — a regular rasper, b'gad ! I 
don't know what a digger earns, but let 's be moderate 
and say five or six pounds a week. Well, what the deuce 
good d' you suppose that would be to me? Why, I still 
owe Gaunt, as far as I can figure it up, about eighty 
thousand pounds, which is a deuced lot more than it 
sounds. I should have been rotting in the Fleet, or the 
Marshalsea, years ago if it had n't been for my uncle's 
gout, b'gad!" 

"His gout?" 

" Precisely ! Every twinge he has — up goes my credit. 
I 'm his only heir, y' know, and he 's seventy-one. At 
present he 's as sound as a bell, — actually rode to hounds 
last week, b'gad ! Consequently my credit 's — nowhere. 
Jolly old boy, though — deuced fond of him — ha ! there 's 
Haynes ! Over yonder ! Fellow driving the phaeton with 
the black-a-moor in the rumble." 

" You mean the man in the bright green coat ? " 

" Yes. Call him • Pea-green Haynes ' — one of your 
second-rate, ultra dandies. Twig his vasty whiskers, will 
you! Takes his fellow hours to curl 'em. And then his 
cravat, b'gad ! " 

" How does he turn his head? " inquired Barnabas. 

" Never does, — can't ! I lost a devilish lot to him at 
hazard a few years ago — crippled me, y' know. But talk- 
ing of my uncle — devilish fond of him — always was. 

272 The Amateur Gentleman 

But mark you, Beverley, a man has no right — no busi- 
ness to go oh living after he 's seventy, at least, it shows 
deuced bad taste, I think — so thoughtless, y' know. 
Hallo ! why there 's Ball Hughes — driving the chocolate- 
colored coach, and got up like a regular jarvey. Devilish 
rich, y' know — call him ' The Golden Ball ' — deuce of a 
fellow! Pitch and toss, or whist at five pound points, 
damme! Won small fortune from Petersham at battledore 
and shuttlecock, — played all night too." 

" And have you lost to him also? " 

"Of course?" 

" Do you ever win? " 

" Oh, well — now and then, y' know, though I 'm gen- 
erally unlucky. Must have been born under — Aldeboran, 
is it? — anyhow, some cursed star or other. Been dogged 
by ill-luck from my cradle, b'gad! On the turf, in the 
clubs and hells, even in the Peninsular ! " 

" So you fought in the Peninsular? " 

" Oh, yes." 

" And did you gamble there too ? " 

" Naturally — whenever I could." 

" And did you lose? " 

" Generally. Everything 's been against me, y' know — 
even my size." 

"How so?" 

" Well, there was a fellow in the Eighty-eighth, name 
of Crichton. I 'd lost to him pretty heavily while we were 
before Ciudad Rodrigo. The night before the storming 
— we both happened to have volunteered, y' know — 
* Crichton,' says I, ■ I '11 go you double or quits I 'm into 
the town to-morrow before you are.' 'Done!' says he. 
Well, we advanced to the attack about dawn, about four 
hundred of us. The breach was wide enough to drive a 
battery through, but the enemy had thrown up a breast- 
work and fortified it during the night. But up we went 
at the * double,' Crichton and I in front, you may be sure. 
As soon as the Frenchies opened fire, I began to run, — so 
did Crichton, but being longer in the leg, I was at the 

The Luck of Captain Slingsby 273 

breach first, and began to scramble over the debris. 
Crichton was a little fellow, y' know, but game all through, 
and active as a cat, and b'gad, presently above the roar 
and din, I could hear him panting close behind me. Up we 
went, nearer and nearer, with our fellows about a hundred 
yards in our rear, clambering after us and cheering as 
they came. I was close upon the confounded breastwork 
when I took a musket-ball through my leg, and over I 
went like a shot rabbit, b'gad ! Just then Crichton panted 
up. ' Hurt? ' says he. ' Only my leg,' says I, ' go on, 
and good luck to you.' ' Devilish rough on you, Sling! ' 
says he, and on he went. But he 'd only gone about a 
couple of yards when he threw up his arms and pitched 
over on his face. ' Poor Crichton 's done for ! ' says I to 
myself, and made shift to crawl over to him. But b'gad! 
he saw me coming, and began to crawl too. So there we 
were, on our hands and knees, crawling up towards the 
Frenchies as hard as we could go. My leg was deuced — 
uncomfortable, y' know, but I put on a spurt, and man- 
aged to draw level with him. ' Hallo, Sling ! ' says he, 
' here 's where you win, for I 'm done ! ' and over he goes 
again. ' So am I, for that matter,' says I — which was 
only the truth, Beverley. So b'gad, there we lay, side by 
side, till up came our fellows, yelling like fiends, past us 
and over us, and charged the breastwork with the bayonet, 

— and carried it too ! Presently, up came two stragglers, 

— a corporal of* the Eighty-eighth and a sergeant of 
6 Ours.' ' Hi, Corporal,' yells Crichton, ' ten pounds if 
you can get me over the breastwork — quick 's the word ! ' 
' Sergeant,' says I, ' twenty pounds if you get me over 
first.' Well, down went the Corporal's musket and the 
Sergeant's pike, and on to their backs we scrambled — 
a deuced painful business for both of us, I give you my 
word, Beverley. So we began our race again — mounted 
this time. But it was devilish bad going, and though the 
Sergeant did his best, I came in a very bad second. You 
see, I 'm no light weight, and Crichton was." 

"You lost, then?" 

274 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Oh, of course, even my size is against me, you see." 
Hereupon, once more, and very suddenly, the Captain 
relapsed into his gloomy mood, nor could Barnabas dispel 
it; his efforts were rewarded only by monosyllables until, 
swinging round into a short and rather narrow street, he 
brought his horses to a walk. 

" Here we are, Beverley ! " 

" Where? " Barnabas inquired. 

" Kirby Street, — his street. And there 's the house, 

— his house," and Captain Slingsby pointed his whip 
at a high, flat-fronted house. It was a repellent-looking 
place with an iron railing before it, and beyond this rail- 
ing a deep and narrow area, where a flight of damp steps 
led down to a gloomy door. The street was seemingly a 
quiet one, and, at this hour, deserted save for themselves 
and a solitary man who stood with his back to them upon 
the opposite side of the way, apparently lost in profound 
thought. A very tall man he was, and very upright, de- 
spite the long white hair that showed beneath his hat, 
which, like his clothes, was old and shabby, and Barnabas 
noticed that his feet were bare. This man Captain 
Slingsby incontinent hailed in his characteristic fashion. 

« Hi, — you over there ! " he called. " Hallo ! " The 
man never stirred. "Oho! b'gad, are you deaf? Just 
come over here and hold my horses for me, will you? " 
The man raised his head suddenly and turned. So quickly 
did he turn that the countless gleaming buttons that he 
wore upon his coat rang a jingling chime. Now, looking 
upon this strange figure, Barnabas started up, and spring- 
ing from the curricle, crossed the street and looked upon 
the man with a smile. 

" Have you forgotten me? " said Barnabas. The man 
smiled in turn, and sweeping off the weather-beaten hat, 
saluted him with an old-time bow of elaborate grace. 

" Sir," he answered in his deep, rich voice, " Billy 
Button never forgets — faces. You are Barnaby Bright 

— Barnabas, 't is all the same. Sir, Billy Button salutes 

The Luck of Captain Slingsby 275 

'' Why, then," said Barnabas, rather diffidently, seeing 
the other's grave dignity, " will you oblige me by — by 
holding my friend's horses? They are rather high-spirited 
and nervous." 

" Nervous, sir? Ah, then they need me. Billy Button 
shall sing to them, horses love music, and, like trees, 
are excellent listeners." Forthwith Billy Button crossed 
the street with his long, stately stride, and taking the 
leader's bridle, fell to soothing the horses with soft words, 
and to patting them with gentle, knowing hands. 

"B'gad!" exclaimed the Captain, staring, "that fel- 
low has been used to horses — once upon a time. Poor 
devil ! " As he spoke he glanced from Billy Button's 
naked feet and threadbare clothes to his own glossy Hes- 
sians and immaculate garments, and Barnabas saw him 
wince as he turned towards the door of Jasper Gaunt's 
house. Now when Barnabas would have followed, Billy 
Button caught him suddenly by the sleeve. 

" You are not going — there ? " he whispered, frowning 
and nodding towards the house. 


" Don't ! " he whispered, " don't ! An evil place, a place 
of sin and shadows, of sorrow, and tears, and black de- 
spair. Ah, an evil place ! No place for Barnaby Bright." 

" I must," said Barnabas. 

" So say they all. Youth goes in, and leaves his youth 
behind ; men go in, and leave all strength and hope behind ; 
age goes in, and creeps out — to a grave. Hear me, 
Barnaby Bright. There is one within there already 
marked for destruction. Death follows at his heel, for 
evil begetteth evil, and the sword, the sword. He is 
already doomed. Listen, — blood ! I 've seen it upon the 
door yonder, — a bloody hand ! I know, for They have 
told me — They — the Wise Ones. And so I come here, 
sometimes by day, sometimes by night, and I watch — I 
watch. But this is no place for you, — 't is the grave of 
youth, don't go — don't go ! " 

" I must," repeated Barnabas, " for another's sake." 

276 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Then must the blighting shadow fall upon you, too, 
— ah, yes, I know. Oh, Barnaby, — Barnaby Bright ! )3 

Here, roused by the Captain's voice, rather hoarser 
than usual, Barnabas turned and saw that the door or 
the house was open, and that Captain Slingsby stood 
Waiting for him with a slender, youthful-seeming person 
who smiled; a pale-faced, youngish man, with colorless 
hair, and eyes so very pale as to be almost imperceptible 
in the pallor of his face. Now, even as the door closed, 
Barnabas could hear Billy Button singing softly to the 



Barnabas followed the Captain along a somewhat gloomy 
hall, up a narrow and winding staircase, and here, half- 
way up, was a small landing with an alcove where stood 
a tall, wizen-faced clock with skeleton hands and a loud, 
insistent, very deliberate tick; so, up more stairs to an- 
other hall, also somewhat gloomy, and a door which the 
pale-eyed, smiling person obligingly opened, and, having 
ushered them into a handsomely furnished chamber, dis- 
appeared. The Captain crossed to the hearth, and stand- 
ing before the empty grate, put up his hand and loosened 
his high stock with suddenly petulant fingers, rather as 
though he found some difficulty in breathing ; and, looking 
at him, Barnabas saw that the debonair Slingsby had 
vanished quite ; in his place was another — a much older 
man, haggard of eye, with a face peaked, and gray, and 
careworn beneath the brim of the jaunty hat. 

" My dear Beverley," said he, staring down into the 
empty grate, " if you 're ever in need — if you 're ever 
reduced to — destitution, then, in heaven's name, go 
quietly away and — starve ! Deuced unpleasant, of 
course, but it 's — sooner over, b'gad ! " 

At this moment the smiling person reappeared at a 
different door, and uttered the words: 

" Captain Slingsby, — if you please." Hereupon the 
Captain visibly braced himself, squared his shoulders, 
took off his hat, crossed the room in a couple of strides, 
and Barnabas was alone. 

Now as he sat there waiting, he gradually became aware 
of a sound that stole upon the quiet, a soft, low sound, 

278 The Amateur Gentleman 

■exactly what he could not define, nevertheless it greatly 
perturbed him. Therefore he rose, and approaching that 
part of the room whence it proceeded, he saw another 
door. And then, all at once, as he stood before this door, 
he knew what the sound was, and why it had so distressed 
him; and, even as the knowledge came, he opened the 
door and stepped into the room beyond. 

And this is what he saw : 

A bare little room, or office; the pale, smiling gentle- 
man, who lounged in a cushioned chair, a comb in one 
Land, and in the other a small pocket mirror, by the aid 
of which he was attending to a diminutive tuft of flaxen 
■whisker; and a woman, in threadbare garments, who 
crouched upon a bench beside the opposite wall, her face 
Lowed upon her hands, her whole frame shaken by great, 
lieart-broken, gasping sobs, — a sound full of misery, and 
of desolation unutterable. 

At the opening of the door, the pale gentleman started 
and turned, and the woman looked up with eyes swollen 
and inflamed by weeping. 

" Sir," said the pale gentleman, speaking softly, yet 
in the tone of one used to command, " may I ask what 
this intrusion means? " Now as he looked into the 
speaker's pallid eyes, Barnabas saw that he was much 
older than he had thought. He had laid aside the comb 
and mirror, and now rose in a leisurely manner, and his 
smile was more unpleasant than ever as he faced Barnabas. 

" This place is private, sir — you understand, private, 
sir. May I suggest that you — go, that you — leave 
us?" As he uttered the last two words, he thrust out 
his head and jaw in a very ugly manner, therefore 
Barnabas turned and addressed himself to the woman. 

" Pray, madam," said he, " tell me your trouble ; what 
is the matter? " But the woman only wrung her hands 
together, and stared with great, frightened eyes at the 
colorless man, who now advanced, smiling still, and tapped 
Barnabas smartly on the shoulder. 

" The trouble is her own, sir, the matter is — entirely 

Barnabas Meets Jasper Gaunt 279 

a private one," said he, fixing Barnabas with his pale 
stare, " I repeat, sir, — a private one. May I, therefore, 
suggest that you withdraw — at once? " 

" As often as you please, sir," retorted Barnabas, 

" Ah 1 " sighed the man, thrusting out his head again, 
" and what do you want — here ? " 

" First, is your name Jasper Gaunt? " 

" No ; but it is as well known as his — better to a 
great many." 

" And your name is — ? " 

" Quigly." 

" Then, Mr. Quigly, pray be seated while I learn this 
poor creature's sorrow." 

" I think — yes, I think you 'd better go," said Mr. 
Quigly, — " ah, yes — and at once, or — " 

" Or? " said Barnabas, smiling and clenching his fists. 

" Or it will be the worse — for you — " 


" And for your friend the Captain." 


" And you will give this woman more reason for her 

Then, looking from the pale, threatening eyes, and smil- 
ing lips of the man, to the trembling fear of the weeping 
woman, and remembering Slingsby's deathly cheek and 
shaking hand, a sudden, great anger came upon Barnabas ; 
his long arm shot out and, pinning Mr. Quigly by the 
cravat, he shook him to and fro in a paroxysm of fury. 
Twice he raised his cane to strike, twice he lowered it, 
and finally loosing his grip, Mr. Quigly staggered back 
to the opposite wall, and leaned there, panting. 

Hereupon Barnabas, somewhat shocked at his own loss 
of self-restraint, re-settled his cuff, straightened his cra- 
vat, and, when he spoke, was more polite than ever. 

" Mr. Quigly, pray sit down," said he ; " I have no wish 
to thrash you, — it would be a pity to spoil my cane, so 
— oblige me by sitting down." 

280 The Amateur Gentleman 

Mr. Quigly opened his mouth as if to speak, but, glanc- 
ing at Barnabas, thought better of it; yet his eyes grew 
so pale that they seemed all whites as he sank into the 

" And now," said Barnabas, turning to the crouching 
woman, " I don't think Mr. Quigly will interrupt us again, 
you may freely tell your trouble — if you will." 

" Oh, sir, — it 's my husband ! He 's been in prison a 
whole year, and now — now he 's dying — they 've killed 
him. It was fifty pounds a year ago. I saved, and 
scraped, and worked day and night, and a month ago — 
I brought the fifty pounds. But then — Oh, my God ! — 
then they told me I must find twenty more — interest, 
they called it. Twenty pounds! why, it would take me 
months and months to earn so much, — and my husband 
was dying ! — dying ! But, sir, I went away despairing. 
Then I grew wild, — desperate — yes, desperate — oh, be- 
lieve it, sir, and I, — I — Ah, sir — what won't a desper- 
ate woman do for one she loves ? And sol — trod 
shameful ways ! To-day I brought the twenty pounds, 
and now — dear God ! now they say it must be 
twenty-three. Three pounds more, and I have no 
more — and I can't — Oh, I — can't go back to it again 
— the shame and horror — I — can't, sir ! " So she cov- 
ered her face again, and shook with the bitter passion of 
her woe. 

And, after a while, Barnabas found voice, though his 
voice was very hoarse and uneven. 

" I think," said he slowly, " yes, I think my cane could 
not have a worthier end than splintering on your villain's 
back, Mr. Quigly." 

But, even as Barnabas advanced with very evident pur- 
pose, a tall figure stood framed in the open doorway. 

" Ah, Quigly, — pray what is all this ? " a chill, incisive 
voice demanded. Barnabas turned, and lowering the cane, 
stood looking curiously at the speaker. A tall, slender 
man he was, with a face that might have been any age, — 
a mask-like face, smooth and long, and devoid of hair as 

Barnabas Meets Jasper Gaunt 281 

it was of wrinkles; an arresting face, with its curving 
nostrils, thin-lipped, close-shut mouth, high, prominent 
brow, and small, piercingly-bright eyes; quick eyes, that 
glinted between their red-rimmed, hairless lids, old in 
their experience of men and the ways of men. For the 
rest, he was clad in a rich yet sober habit, unrelieved by 
any color save for the gleaming seals at his fob, and the 
snowy lace at throat and wrist ; his hair — evidently a 
wig — curled low on either cheek, and his hands were 
well cared for, with long, prehensile fingers. 

" You are Jasper Gaunt, I think? " said Barnabas at 

" At your service, sir, and you, I know, are Mr. Barna- 
bas Beverley." 

So they stood, fronting each other, the Youth, uncon- 
quered as yet, and therefore indomitable, and the Man, 
with glittering eyes old in their experience of men and the 
ways of men. 

" You wished to see me on a matter of business, Mr. 
Beverley? " 

" Yes." 

" Then pray step this way." 

" No," said Barnabas, " first I require your signature 
to this lady's papers." 

Jasper Gaunt smiled, and shrugged his shoulders 

" Such clients as this, sir, — I leave entirely to Mr. 

" Then, in this instance, sir, you will perhaps favor me 
by giving the matter your personal attention ! " 

Jasper Gaunt hesitated, observed the glowing eye, 
flushed cheek, and firm-set lips of the speaker, and being 
wise in men and their ways, — bowed. 

" To oblige you, Mr. Beverley, with pleasure. Though 
I understand from Mr. Quigly that she is unable to 
meet — " 

" Seventy-eight pounds, sir ! She can pay it all — 
every blood-stained, tear-soaked farthing. She should 

282 The Amateur Gentleman 

meet it were it double — treble the sum ! " said Barnabas, 
opening his purse. 

" Ah, indeed, I see ! I see ! " nodded Jasper Gaunt. 
" Take the money, Quigly, I will make out the receipt. 
If you desire, you shall see me sign it, Mr. Beverley." So 
saying, he crossed to the desk, wrote the document, and 
handed it to Barnabas, with a bow that was almost ironical. 

Then Barnabas gave the precious paper into the 
woman's eager fingers, and looked down into the woman's 
shining eyes. 

" Sir," said she between trembling lips, " I cannot 
thank you, — I — I cannot. But God sees, and He will 
surely repay." 

" Indeed," stammered Barnabas, "I — it was only three 
pounds, after all, and — there, — go, — hurry away to 
your husband, and — ah ! that reminds me, — he will want 
help, perhaps ! " Here Barnabas took out his card, and 
thrust it into her hand. " Take that to my house, ask 
to see my Steward, Mr. Peterby, — stay, I '11 write the 
name for you, he will look after you, and — good-by ! " 

" It is a truly pleasant thing to meet with heartfelt 
gratitude, sir," said Jasper Gaunt, as the door closed 
behind the woman. " And now I am entirely at your 
service, — this way, sir." 

Forthwith Barnabas followed him into another room, 
where sat the Captain, his long legs stretched out before 
him, his chin on his breast, staring away at vacancy. 

" Sir," said Jasper Gaunt, glancing from Barnabas to 
the Captain and back again, " he will not trouble us, I 
think, but if you wish him to withdraw — ? " 

" Thank you — no," answered Barnabas, " Captain 
Slingsby is my friend ! " Jasper Gaunt bowed, and seated 
Tiimself at his desk opposite Barnabas. His face was in 
shadow, for the blind had been half-drawn to exclude the 
glare of the afternoon sun, and he sat, or rather lolled, 
in a low, deeply cushioned chair, studying Barnabas with 
his eyes that were so bright and so very knowing in the 
ways of mankind ; very still he sat, and very quiet, waiting 

Barnabas Meets Jasper Gaunt 283 

for Barnabas to begin. Now on the wall, immediately 
behind him, was a long, keen-bladed dagger, that glittered 
evilly where the light caught it; and as he sat there so 
very quiet and still, with his face in the shadow, it seemed 
to Barnabas as though he lolled there dead, with the 
dagger smitten sideways through his throat, and in that 
moment Barnabas fancied he could hear the deliberate tick- 
tock of the wizen-faced clock upon the stairs. 

" I have come," began Barnabas at last, withdrawing 
his e3'es from the glittering steel with an effort, " I am 
here on behalf of one — in whom I take an interest — a 
great interest." 

"Yes, Mr. Beverley?" 

" I have undertaken to — liquidate his debts." 

" Yes, Mr. Beverley." 

" To pay — whatever he may owe, both principal and 

" Indeed, Mr. Beverley ! And — his name ? " 

" His name is Ronald Barrymaine." 

" Ronald — Barrymaine ! " There was a pause be- 
tween the words, and the smooth, soft voice had suddenly- 
grown so harsh, so deep and vibrant, that it seemed in- 
credible the words could have proceeded from the lips of 
the motionless figure lolling in the chair with his face in 
the shadow and the knife glittering behind him. 

" I have made out to you a draft for more than enough, 
as I judge, to cover Mr. Barrymaine's liabilities." 

" For how much, sir? " 

" Twenty-two thousand pounds." 

Then Jasper Gaunt stirred, sighed, and leaned forward 
in his chair. 

" A handsome sum, sir, — a very handsome sum, 
but — " and he smiled and shook his head. 

"Pray what do you mean by 'but'?" demanded 

" That the sum is — inadequate, sir." 

" Twenty-two thousand pounds is not enough then? " 

" It is — not enough, Mr. Beverley." 

284 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Then, if you will tell me the precise amount, I will 
make up the deficiency." But, here again, Jasper Gaunt 
smiled his slow smile and shook his head. 

" That, I grieve to say, is quite impossible, Mr. 


" Because I make it a rule never to divulge my clients' 
affairs to a third party ; and, sir, — I never break my 

" Then — you refuse to tell me ? " 

" It is — quite impossible." 

So there fell a silence while the wide, fearless eyes of 
Youth looked into the narrow, watchful eyes of Experi- 
ence. Then Barnabas rose, and began to pace to and fro 
across the luxurious carpet; he walked with his head 
bent, and the hands behind his back were tightly clenched. 
Suddenly he stopped, and throwing up his head faced 
Jasper Gaunt, who sat lolling back in his chair again. 

" I have heard," said he, " that this sum was twenty 
thousand pounds, but, as you say, it may be more, — a 
few pounds more, or a few hundreds more." 

" Precisely, Mr. Beverley." 

" I am, therefore, going to make you an offer — " 

" Which I must — refuse." 

" And my offer is this : instead of twenty thousand 
pounds I will double the sum." 

Jasper Gaunt's lolling figure grew slowly rigid, and 
leaning across the desk, he stared up at Barnabas under 
his hairless brows. Even Captain Slingsby stirred and 
lifted his heavy head. 

" Forty thousand pounds ! " said Jasper Gaunt, speak- 
ing almost in a whisper. 

" Yes," said Barnabas, and sitting down, he folded his 
arms a little ostentatiously. Jasper Gaunt's head 
drooped, and he stared down at the papers on the desk 
before him, nor did he move, only his long, white fingers 
began to tap softly upon his chair-arms, one after the 

Barnabas Meets Jasper Gaunt 285 

" I will pay you forty thousand pounds," said Barna- 
bas. Then, all in one movement as it seemed, Gaunt had 
risen and turned to the window, and stood there awhile 
with his back to the room. 

" Well? " inquired Barnabas at last. 

"I — cannot, sir." 

" You mean — will not ! " said Barnabas, clenching his 

"Cannot, sir." As Gaunt turned, Barnabas rose and 
approached him until barely a yard separated them, until 
he could look into the eyes that glittered between their 
hairless lids, very like the cruel-looking dagger on the 

" Very well," said Barnabas, " then I '11 treble it. I '11 
pay you sixty thousand pounds! What do you say? 
Come — speak ! " But now, the eyes so keen and sharp 
to read men and the ways of men wavered and fell before 
the indomitable steadfastness of unconquered Youth; the 
long, white hands beneath their ruffles seemed to writhe 
with griping, contorted fingers, while upon his temple was 
something that glittered a moment, rolled down his cheek, 
and so was gone. 

" Speak ! " said Barnabas. 

Yet still no answer came, only Jasper Gaunt sank down 
in his chair with his elbows on the desk, his long, white 
face clasped between his long, white hands, staring into 
vacancy; but now his smooth brow was furrowed, his 
narrow eyes were narrower yet, and his thin lips moved 
as though he had whispered to himself " sixty thousand 
pounds ! " 

" Sir, — for the last time — do you accept? " demanded 

Without glancing up, or even altering the direction of 
his vacant stare, and with his face still framed between 
his hands, Jasper Gaunt shook his head from side to 
side, once, twice, and thrice; a gesture there was no 

Then Barnabas fell back a step, with clenched fist up- 

286 The Amateur Gentleman 

raised, but in that moment the Captain was before him 
and had caught his arm. 

" By Gad, Beverley ! " he exclaimed in a shaken voice, 
" are you mad? " 

" No," said Barnabas, " but I came here to buy those 
bills, and buy them I will ! If trebling it is n't enough, 
then — " 

" Ah ! " cried Slingsby, pointing to the usurer's dis- 
torted face, " can't you see? Don't you guess? He can't 
sell! No money-lender of 'em all could resist such an 
offer. I tell you he dare n't sell, the bills are n't his ! 
Come away — " 

" Not his ! " cried Barnabas, " then whose? " 

" God knows ! But it 's true, — look at him ! " 

" Tell me," cried Barnabas, striving to see Gaunt's 
averted eyes, " tell me who holds these bills, — if you have 
one spark of generosity — tell me ! " 

But Jasper Gaunt gave no sign, only the writhing 
fingers crept across his face, over staring eyes and twitch- 
ing lips. 

So, presently, Barnabas suffered Captain Slingsby to 
lead him from the room, and down the somewhat dark 
and winding stair, past the wizen-faced clock, out into 
the street already full of the glow of evening. 

" It 's a wonder to me," said the Captain, " yes, it 's a 
great wonder to me, that nobody has happened to kill 
Gaunt before now." 

So the Captain frowned, sighed, and climbed up to his 
seat. But, when Barnabas would have followed, Billy 
Button touched him on the arm. 

" Oh, Barnaby ! " said he, " oh, Barnaby Bright, look 
— the day is dying, the shadows are coming, — in a little 
while it will be night. But, oh Youth, alas ! alas ! I can 
see the shadows have touched you already ! " And so, 
with a quick upflung glance at the dismal house, he turned, 
waved his hand, and sped away on noiseless feet, and so 




Oho ! for the rush of wind in the hair, for the rolling thun- 
der of galloping hoofs, now echoing on the hard, white 
road, now muffled in dewy grass. 

Oho ! for the horse and his rider and the glory of them ; 
for the long, swinging stride that makes nothing of dis- 
tance, for the tireless spring of the powerful loins, for 
the masterful hand on the bridle, strong, yet gentle as 
a caress, for the firm seat — the balance and sway that is 
an aid to speed, and proves the born rider. And what 
horse should this be but Four-legs, his black coat glossy 
and shining in the sun, his great, round hoofs spurning 
the flying earth, all a-quiver with high courage, with life 
and the j oy of it ? And who should be the rider but young 
Barnabas ? 

He rides with his hat in his whip-hand, that he may 
feel the wind, and with never a look behind, for birds are 
carolling from the cool freshness of dewy wood and copse, 
in every hedge and tree the young sun has set a myriad 
gems flashing and sparkling; while, out of the green dis- 
tance ahead, Love is calling; brooks babble of it, birds 
sing of it, the very leaves find each a small, soft voice to 
whisper of it. 

So away — away rides Barnabas by village green and 
lonely cot, past hedge and gate and barn, up hill and 
down hill, — away from the dirt and noise of London, 
away from its joys and sorrows, its splendors and its 
miseries, and from the oncoming, engulfing shadow. Spur 
and gallop, Barnabas, — ride, youth, ride ! for the shadow 
has already touched you, even as the madman said. 

288 The Amateur Gentleman 

Therefore while youth yet abides, while the sun yet shines, 
— ride, Barnabas, ride ! 

Now as he went, Barnabas presently espied a leafy 
Ly-lane, and across this lane a fence had been erected, — 
a high fence, but with a fair " take-off " and conse- 
quently, a most inviting fence. At this, forthwith, Bar- 
nabas rode, steadied Four-legs in his stride, touched him 
with the spur, and cleared it with a foot to spare. Then, 
all at once, he drew rein and paced over the dewy grass to 
where, beneath the hedge, was a solitary man who knelt 
before a fire of twigs fanning it to a blaze with his wide- 
eaved hat. 

He was a slender man, and something stooping of shoul- 
der, and his hair shone silver-white in the sunshine. 
Hearing Barnabas approach, he looked up, rose to his 
feet, and so stood staring as one in doubt. Therefore 
Barnabas uncovered his head and saluted him with grave 

" Sir," said he, reining in his great horse, " you have 
not forgotten me, I hope? " 

" No indeed, young sir," answered the Apostle of Peace, 
with a dawning smile of welcome. " But you are dressed 
very differently from what I remember. The quiet, 
country youth has become lost, and transfigured into the 
dashing Corinthian. What a vast difference clothes can 
make in one! And yet your face is the same, your ex- 
pression unchanged. London has not altered you yet, 
and I hope it never may. No, sir, your face is not one 
to be forgotten, — indeed it reminds me of other days." 

" But we have only met once before," said Barnabas. 

" True ! And yet I seem to have known you years 
ago, — that is what puzzles me ! But come, young sir, — 
if you have time and inclination to share a vagrant's 
breakfast, I can offer you eggs and new milk, and bread 
and butter, — simple fare, but more wholesome than your 
French ragouts and highly-seasoned dishes." 

" You are very kind," said Barnabas, " the ride has 
made me hungry, — besides, I should like to talk with you." 

An Ethical Discussion 289 

" Why, then — light down from that great horse of 
yours, and join me. The grass must be both chair and 
table, but here is a tree for your back, and the bank for 

So, having dismounted and secured his horse's bridle 
to a convenient branch, Barnabas sat himself down with 
his back to the tree, and accepted the wandering Preacher's 
bounty as freely as it was offered. And when the 
Preacher had spoken a short grace, they began to eat, and 
while they ate, to talk, as follows : 

Barnabas. " It is three weeks, I think, since we met? '* 

The Preacher. " A month, young sir." 

Barnabas. " So long a time? " 

The Preacher. " So short a time*. You have been 
busy, I take it? " 

Barnabas. " Yes, sir. Since last we met I have bought 
a house and set up an establishment in London, and I 
have also had the good fortune to be entered for the 
Gentleman's Steeplechase on the fifteenth." 

The Preacher. "You are rich, young sir?" 

Barnabas. " And I hope to be famous also." 

The Preacher. " Then indeed do I begin to tremble 
for you." 

Barnabas (staring). "Why so?" 

The Preacher. " Because wealth is apt to paralyze 
effort, and Fame is generally harder to bear, and far more 
dangerous, than failure." 

Barnabas. "How dangerous, sir?" 

The Preacher. " Because he who listens too often to 
the applause of the multitude grows deaf to the voice of 
Inspiration, for it is a very small, soft voice, and must be 
hearkened for, and some call it Genius, and some the 
Voice of God — " 

Barnabas. " But Fame means Power, and I would 
succeed for the sake of others beside myself. Yes, — I 
must succeed, and, as I think you once said, all things are 
possible to us ! Pray, what did you mean ? " 

The Preacher. " Young sir, into each of us who are 

290 The Amateur Gentleman 

born into this world God puts something of Himself, and 
by reason of this Divine part, all things are possible." 

BabnabAs. " Yet the world is full of failures." 

The Preacher. " Alas ! yes ; but only because men 
do not realize power within them. For man is a selfish 
creature, and Self is always grossly blind. But let a man 
look within himself, let him but become convinced of this 
Divine power, and the sure and certain knowledge of ulti- 
mate success will be his. So, striving diligently, this power 
shall grow within him, and by and by he shall achieve great 
things, and the world proclaim him a Genius." 

Barnabas. " Then — all men might succeed." 

The Preacher. " Assuredly ! for success is the com- 
mon heritage of Man. It is only Self, blind, ignorant Self, 
who is the coward, crying ' I cannot ! I dare not ! It is 
impossible ! ' " 

Barnabas. " What do you mean by ' Self '? " 

The Preacher. " I mean the grosser part, the slave 
"that panders to the body, a slave that, left unchecked, 
may grow into a tyrant, a Circe, changing Man to brute." 

Here Barnabas, having finished his bread and butter, 
very thoughtfully cut himself another slice. 

Barnabas (still thoughtful). "And do you still go 
about preaching Forgetfulness of Self, sir? " 

The Preacher. " And Forgiveness, yes. A good 
theme, young sir, but — very unpopular. Men prefer to 
dwell upon the wrongs done them, rather than cherish the 
memory of benefits conferred. But, nevertheless, I go up 
and down the ways, preaching always." 

Barnabas. " Why, then, I take it, your search is still 

The Preacher. " Quite ! Sometimes a fear comes 
upon me that she may be beyond my reach — " 

Barnabas. " You mean — ? " 

The Preacher. " Dead, sir. At such times, things 
grow very black until I remember that God is a just God, 
and therein lies my sure and certain hope. But I would 
not trouble you with my griefs, young sir, more especially 

An Ethical Discussion 291 

on such a glorious morning, — hark to the throstle yonder* 
he surely sings of Life and Hope. So, if you will, pray 
tell me of yourself, young sir, of your hopes and 

Barnabas. " My ambitions, sir, are many, but first, — 
I would be a gentleman." 

The Preacher (nodding). "Good! So far as it. 
goes, the ambition is a laudable one." 

Barnabas (staring thoughtfully at his bread and 
butter). " The first difficulty is to know precisely what a 
gentleman should be. Pray, sir, what is your definition ? " 

The Preacher. " A gentleman, young sir, is (I take 
it) one born with the Godlike capacity to think and feel 
for others, irrespective of their rank or condition." 

Barnabas. " Hum! One who is unselfish? " 

The Preacher. " One who possesses an ideal so lofty,, 
a mind so delicate, that it lifts him above all things ig- 
noble and base, yet strengthens his hands to raise those 
who are fallen — no matter how low. This, I think, is to 
be truly a gentleman, and of all gentle men Jesus of Naza- 
reth was the first." 

Barnabas (shaking his head). "And yet, sir, I re- 
member a whip of small cords." 

The Preacher. " Truly, for Evil sometimes so- 
deadens the soul that it can feel only through the flesh." 

Barnabas. " Then — a man may fight and yet be a, 
gentleman? " 

The Preacher. " He who can forgive, can fight." 

Barnabas. " Sir, I am relieved to know that. But 
must Forgiveness always come after? " 

The Preacher. " If the evil is truly repented of." 

Barnabas. " Even though the evil remain? " 

The Preacher. " Ay, young sir, for then Forgive- 
ness becomes truly divine." 

Barnabas. " Hum ! " 

The Preacher. " But you eat nothing, young sir." 

Barnabas. " I was thinking." 

The Preacher. " Of what? " 

292 The Amateur Gentleman 

Babnabas. " Sir, my thought embraced you." 

The Preacher. " How, young sir? " 

Barnabas. " I was wondering if you had ever heard 
of a man named Chichester? " 

The Preacher (speaking brokenly, and in a whisper). 
** Sir ! — young sir, — you said — ? " 

Barnabas (rising). "Chichester!" 

The Preacher (coming to his knees). "Sir, — oh, 
sir, — this man — Chichester is he who stole away — my 
daughter, — who blasted her honor and my life, — 
who — " 

Barnabas. " No ! " 

The Preacher (covering his face). "Yes, — yes! 
God help me, it 's true ! But in her shame I love her still, 
oh, my pride is dead long ago. I remember only that I 
am her father, with all a father's loving pity, and that 
she — " 

Barnabas. " And that she is the stainless maid she 
-always was — " 

" Sir," cried the Preacher, " oh, sir, — what do you 
mean? " and Barnabas saw the thin hands clasp and wring 
themselves, even as he remembered Clemency's had done. 

" I mean," answered Barnabas, " that she fled from 
pollution, and found refuge among honest folk. I mean 
that she is alive and well, that she lives but to bless your 
arms and feel a father's kiss of forgiveness. If you would 
find her, go to the ' Spotted Cow,' near Frittenden, and ask 
for ' Clemency ' ! " 

" Clemency ! " repeated the Preacher, " Clemency 
means mercy. And she called herself — Clemency ! " 
Then, with a sudden, rapturous gesture, he lifted his thin 
hands, and with his eyes upturned to the blue heaven, 

" Oh, God! " he cried, " Oh, Father of Mercy, I thank 
Thee ! " And so he arose from his knees, and turning 
.about, set off through the golden morning towards Frit- 
tenden, and Clemency. 



Oho ! for the warmth and splendor of the mid-day sun ; 
for the dance and flurry of leafy shadows on the sward; 
for stilly wayside pools whose waters, deep and dark in 
the shade of overhanging boughs, are yet dappled here 
and . there with glory ; for merry brooks leaping and 
laughing along their stony beds; for darkling copse and 
sunny upland, — oho ! for youth and life and the joy of it. 

To the eyes of Barnabas, the beauty of the world 
about him served only to remind him of the beauty of her 
who was compounded of all things beautiful, — the One 
and Only Woman, whose hair was yellow like the ripen- 
ing corn, whose eyes were deep and blue as the infinite 
heaven, whose lips were red as the poppies that bloomed 
beside the way, and whose body was warm with youth, 
and soft and white as the billowy clouds above. 

Thus on galloped Barnabas with the dust behind and 
the white road before, and with never a thought of Lon- 
don, or its wonders, or the gathering shadow. 

It was well past noon when he beheld a certain lonely 
church where many a green mound and mossy headstone 
marked the resting-place of those that sleep awhile. And 
here, beside the weather-worn porch, were the stocks, that 
" place of thought " where Viscount Devenham had sat 
in solitary, though dignified meditation. A glance, a 
smile, and Barnabas was past, and galloping down the 
hill towards where the village nestled in the valley. Be- 
fore the inn he dismounted, and, having seen Four-legs 
well bestowed, and given various directions to a certain 

294 The Amateur Gentleman 

sleepy-voiced ostler, he entered the inn, and calling for 
dinner, ate it with huge relish. Now, when he had done, 
came the landlord to smoke a pipe with him, — a red- 
faced man, vast of paunch and garrulous of tongue. 

" Fine doin's there be up at t' great 'ouse, sir," he 

" You mean Annersley House ? " 

" Ay, sir. All the quality is there, — my son 's a 
groom there an' 'e told me, so 'e did. Theer ain't nobody 
as ain't either a Markus or a Earl or a Vi'count, and as 
for Barry-nets, they 're as thick as flies, they are, — an' 
all to meet a little, old 'ooman as don't come up to my 
shoulder ! But then — she 's a Duchess, an' that makes 
all the difference ! " 

" Yes, of course," said Barnabas. 

" A little old 'ooman wi' curls, as don't come no-wise 
near so 'igh as my shoulder! Druv up to that theer 
very door as you see theer, in 'er great coach an' four, 
she did, — orders the steps to be lowered, — comes tapping 
into this 'ere very room with 'er little cane, she do, — sits 
down in that theer very chair as you 're a-sittin' in, she 
do, fannin' 'erself with a little fan — an' calls for — now, 
what d' ye suppose, sir? " 

" I have n't the least idea." 

" She calls, sir, — though you won't believe me, it 
are n't to be expected, — no, not on my affer-daver, — 
she being a Duchess, ye see — " 

"Well, what did she call for?" inquired Barnabas, 

" Sir, she called for — on my solemn oath it 's true — 
though I don't ax ye to believe me, mind, — she sat in 
that theer identical chair, — an' mark me, 'er a Duchess, 

— she sat in that cheer, a-fannin' 'erself with 'er little fan, 
an' calls for a 'arf of Kentish ale — ' Westerham brew,' 
says she ; an' 'er a Duchess ! In a tankard ! But I know 
as you won't believe me, — nor I don't ax any man to, 

— no, not if I went down on my bended marrer- 
bones — " 

Love and its Symptoms 295 

" But I do believe you," said Barnabas. 

" What — you do ? " cried the landlord, almost re- 

" Certainly ! A Duchess is, sometimes, almost human." 

" But you — actooally — believe me? " 

" Yes." 

" Well — you surprise me, sir ! Ale ! A Duchess ! In 
a tankard ! No, it are n't nat'ral. Never would I ha' 
believed as any one would ha' believed such a — " 

But here Barnabas laughed, and taking up his hat, 
sallied out into the sunshine. 

He went by field paths that led him past woods in 
whose green twilight thrushes and blackbirds piped, by 
sunny meadows where larks mounted heavenward in an 
ecstasy of song, and so, eventually he found himself in a 
road where stood a weather-beaten finger-post, with its 
two arms wide-spread and pointing: 


Here Barnabas paused a while, and bared his head as 
one who stands on hallowed ground. And looking upon 
the weather-worn finger-post, he smiled very tenderly, 
as one might who meets an old friend. Then he went on 
again until he came to a pair of tall iron gates, hospitable 
gates that stood open as though inviting him to enter. 
Therefore he went on, and thus presently espied a low, 
rambling house of many gables, about which were trim 
lawns and stately trees. Now as he stood looking at this 
house, he heard a voice near by, a deep, rolling bass up- 
raised in song, and the words of it were these: 

*' What shall we do with the drunken sailor, 

Heave, my lads, yo-ho! 
Why, put him in the boat and roll him over, 
Put him in the boat till he gets sober, 
Put him in the boat and roll him over, 

With a heave, my lads, yo-ho! " 

Following the direction of this voice, Barnabas came 
to a lawn screened from the house by hedges of clipped 
yew. At the further end of this lawn was a small building 

296 The Amateur Gentleman 

which had been made to look as much as possible like 
the after-cabin of a ship. It had a door midway, with a. 
row of small, square windows on either side, and was 
flanked at each end by a flight of wooden steps, with 
elaborately carved hand-rails, that led up to the quarter- 
deck above, which was protected by more carved posts 
and rails. Here a stout pole had been erected and rigged 
with block and fall, and from this, a flag stirred lazily in 
the gentle wind. 

Now before this building, his blue coat laid by, his 
shirt sleeves rolled up, his glazed hat on the back of his 
head, was the Bo'sun, polishing away at a small, brass 
cannon that was mounted on a platform, and singing 
lustily as he worked. So loudly did he sing, and so 
engrossed was he, that he did not look up until he felt 
Barnabas touch him. Then he started, turned, stared, 
hesitated, and, finally, broke into a smile. 

" Ah, it 's you, sir, — the young gemman as bore away 
for Lon'on alongside Master Horatio, his Lordship ! " 

" Yes," said Barnabas, extending his hand, " how are 
you, Bo'sun? " 

" Hearty, sir, hearty, I thank ye ! " Saying which he 
touched his forehead, rubbed his hand upon his trousers, 
looked at it, rubbed it again, and finally gave it to Barna- 
bas, though with an air of apology. " Been making things 
a bit ship-shape, sir, 'count o' this here day being a occa- 
sion, — but I 'm hearty, sir, hearty, I thank ye." 

" And the Captain," said Barnabas with some hesita- 
tion. " How is the Captain? " 

" The Cap'n, sir," answered the Bo'sun, " the Cap'n 
is likewise hearty." 

" And — Lady Cleone — is she well, is she happy ? " 

" Why, sir, she 's as 'appy as can be expected — under 
the circumstances." 

" What circumstances ? " 

" Love, sir." 

" Love ! " exclaimed Barnabas, " why, Bo'sun — what 
do you mean ? " 

Love and its Symptoms 297 

" I mean, sir, as she 's fell in love at last — " 
" How do you know — who with — where is she — ? " 
" Well, sir, I know on account o' 'er lowness o' sper- 
xits, — noticed it for a week or more. Likewise I 've 
heered 'er sigh very frequent, and I 've seen 'er sit a-star- 
ing up at the moon — ah, that I have ! Now lovers is 
generally low in their sperrits, I 've heered tell, and they 
alius stare very 'ard at the moon, — why, I don't know, 
Taut they do, — leastways, so I 've — " 

"But — in love — with whom? Can I see her? 
Where is she? Are you sure?" 

" And sartain, sir. Only t' other night, as I sat 
a-smoking my pipe on the lawn, yonder, — she comes out 
to me, and nestles down under my lee — like she used to 
years ago. i Jerry, dear,' says she, 'er voice all low and 
soft-like, ' look at the moon, — how beautiful it is ! ' says 
she, and — she give a sigh. ' Yes', my lady,' says I. 
6 Oh, Jerry,' says she, ' call me Clo, as you used to do.' 

* Yes, my Lady Clo,' says I. But she grapples me by the 
collar, and stamps 'er foot at me, all in a moment. 
"* Leave out the " lady," ' says she. * Yes, Clo,' says I. 
So she nestles an' sighs and stares at the moon again. 

* Jerry, dear,' says she after a bit, ' when will the moon 
be at the full?' ' To-morrer, Clo,' says I. And after 
she 's stared and sighed a bit longer — ' Jerry, dear,' 
says she again, ' it 's sweet to think that while we are 
looking up at the moon — others perhaps are looking at 
it too, I mean others who are far away. It — almost seems 
to bring them nearer, does n't it ? Then I knowed as 
't were love, with a big L, sartin and sure, and — " 

" Bo 'sun," said Barnabas, catching him by the arm, 
" who is it she loves ? " 

" Well, sir, — I are n't quite sure, seeing as there are so 
many on 'em in 'er wake, but I think, — and I 'ope, as 
it 's 'is Lordship, Master Horatio." 

" Ah ! " said Barnabas, his frowning brow relaxing. 

" If it ain't 'im, — why then it 's mutiny, — that 's what 
it is, sir ! " 

298 The Amateur Gentleman 


" Ye see, sir," the Bo'sun went on to explain, " orders is 
orders, and if she don't love Master Horatio — well, she 
ought to." 

" Because they was made for each other. Because 
they was promised to each other years ago. It were all 
arranged an' settled 'twixt Master Horatio's father, the 
Earl, and Lady Cleone's guardian, the Cap'n." 

" Ah ! " said Barnabas, " and where is she — and the 
Captain ? " 

" Out, sir ; an' she made him put on 'is best uniform, 
as he only wears on Trafalgar Day, and such great occa- 
sions. She orders out the fam'ly coach, and away they go, 
'im the very picter o' what a post-captain o' Lord Nelson 
should be (though to be sure, there 's a darn in his white 
silk stocking — the one to starboard, just abaft the shoe- 
buckle, and, therefore, not to be noticed, and I were alius 
'andy wi' my needle), and her — looking the picter o' 
the handsomest lady, the loveliest, properest maid in all 
this 'ere world. Away they go, wi' a fair wind to sarve 
'em, an' should ha' dropped anchor at Annersley House 
a full hour ago." 

" At Annersley ? " said Barnabas. " There is a recep- 
tion there, I hear? " 

" Yes, sir, all great folk from Lon'on, besides country 
folk o' quality, — to meet the Duchess o' Camberhurst, and 
she 's the greatest of 'em all. Lord ! There 's enough blue 
blood among 'em to float a Seventy-four. Nat'rally, the 
Cap'n wanted to keep a good offing to windward of 'em. 
6 For look ye, Jerry,' says he, ' I 'm no confounded cour- 
tier to go bowing and scraping to a painted old woman, 
with a lot of other fools, just because she happens to 
be a duchess, — no, damme ! ' and down 'e sits on the 
breech o' the gun here. But, just then, my lady heaves 
into sight, brings up alongside, and comes to an anchor 
on his knee. ' Dear,' says she, with her round, white- 
arm about his neck, and her soft, smooth cheek agin his, 

Love and its Symptoms 299 

4 dear, it's almost time we began to dress.' 'Dress?' 
says he, 'what for, Clo, — I say, what d'ye mean?' 
6 Why, for the reception,' says she. ' To-day is my birth- 
day ' (which it is, sir, wherefore the flag at our peak, 
yonder), ' and I know you mean to take me,' says she, ' so 
I told Robert we should want the coach at three. So come 
along and dress, — like a dear.' The Cap'n stared at 'er, 
dazed-like, give me a look, and, — well — " the Bo'sun 
smiled and shook his head. "Ye see, sir, in some ways 
the Cap'n 's very like a ordinary man, arter all! " 



Now presently, as he went, he became aware of a sound 
that was not the stir of leaves, nor the twitter of birds, 
nor the music of running waters, though all these were 
in his ears, — for this was altogether different ; a distant 
sound that came and went, that swelled to a murmur, 
sank to a whisper, yet never wholly died away. Little 
by little the sound grew plainer, more insistent, until, 
mingled with the leafy stirrings, he could hear a plaintive 
melody, rising and falling, faint with distance. 

Hereupon Barnabas halted suddenly, his chin in hand, 
his brow furrowed in thought, while over his senses 
stole the wailing melody of the distant violins. A while 
he stood thus, then plunged into the cool shadow of a 
wood, and hurried on by winding tracks, through broad 
glades, until the wood was left behind, until the path 
became a grassy lane; and ever the throbbing melody 
swelled and grew. It was a shady lane, tortuous and 
narrow, but on strode Barnabas until, rounding a bend, 
he beheld a wall, an ancient, mossy wall of red brick; 
and with his gaze upon this, he stopped again. But the 
melody called to him, louder now and more insistent, and 
mingled with the throb of the violins was the sound of 
voices and laughter. 

Then, standing on tip-toe, Barnabas set his hands to 
the coping of the wall, and drawing himself up, caught 
a momentary vision of smiling gardens, of green lawns 
where bright figures moved, of winding walks and neat- 
trimmed hedges, ere, swinging himself over, he dropped 
down among a bed of Sir George Annersley's stocks. 

How Barnabas Climbed a Wall 301 

Before him was a shady walk winding between clipped 
yews, and, following this, Barnabas presently espied a 
small arbor some distance away. Now between him and 
this arbor was a place where four paths met, and where 
stood an ancient sun-dial with quaintly carved seats. 
And here, the sun making a glory of her wondrous 
hair, was my Lady Cleone, with the Marquis of Jerning- 
ham beside her. She sat with her elbow on her knee 
and her dimpled chin upon her palm, and, even from 
where he stood, Barnabas could see again the witchery 
of her lashes that drooped dark upon the oval of her 

The Marquis was talking earnestly, gesturing now and 
then with his slender hand that had quite lost its habitual 
languor, and stooping that he might look into the drooping 
beauty of her face, utterly regardless of the havoc he 
thus wrought upon the artful folds of his marvellous 
cravat. All at once she looked up, laughed and shook her 
head, and, closing her fan, pointed with it towards the 
distant house, laughing still, but imperious. Hereupon 
the Marquis rose, albeit unwillingly, and bowing, hurried 
off to obey her behest. Then Cleone rose also, and turn- 
ing, went on slowly toward the arbor, with head drooping 
as one in thought. 

And now, with his gaze upon that shapely back, all 
youthful loveliness from slender foot to the crowning 
glory of her hair, Barnabas sighed, and felt his heart leap 
as he strode after her. But, even as he followed, oblivious 
of all else under heaven, he beheld another back that 
obtruded itself suddenly upon the scene, a broad, 
graceful back in a coat of fine blue cloth, — a back 
that bore itself with a masterful swing of the shoulders. 
And, in that instant, Barnabas recognized Sir Mortimer 

Cleone had reached the arbor, but on the threshold 
turned to meet Sir Mortimer's sweeping bow. And now 
she seemed to hesitate, then extended her hand, and Sir 
Mortimer followed her into the arbor. My lady's cheeks 

302 The Amateur Gentleman 

were warm with rich color, her eyes were suddenly and 
strangely bright as she sank into a chair, and Sir Morti- 
mer, misinterpreting this, had caught and imprisoned her 

" Cleone," said he, " at last ! " The slender hands flut- 
tered in his grasp, but his grasp was strong, and, ere she 
could stay him, he was down before her on his knee, and 
speaking quick and passionately. 

" Cleone ! — hear me ! nay, I w T ill speak ! All the after- 
noon I have tried to get a word with you, and now you 
must hear me — you shall. And yet you know what I 
would say. You know I love you, and have done from 
the first hour I saw you. And from that hour I 've hun- 
gered for 3 r ou, Cleone, do you hear? Ah, tell me you love 
me — speak to me, tell me I may hope. Speak, — answer 

But my lady sat wide-eyed, staring at the face amid 
the leaves beyond the open window, — a face so handsome, 
yet so distorted; saw the gleam of clenched teeth, the 
frowning brows, the menacing gray eyes. 

Sir Mortimer, all unconscious, had caught her listless 
hands to his lips, and was speaking again between his 

" Speak, Cleone ! You know how long I have loved 
you, — speak and bid me hope ! What, silent still? Why, 
then — give me that rose from your bosom, — let it be 
hope's messenger, and speak for you." 

But still my lady sat dumb, staring up at the face amid 
the leaves, the face of Man Primeval, aglow with all the 
primitive passions ; beheld the drawn lips and quivering 
nostrils, the tense jaw savage and masterful, and the 
glowing eyes that threatened her. And, in that moment, 
she threw up her head rebellious, and sighed, and smiled, 
— a woman's smile, proud, defiant ; and, uttering no 
word, gave Sir Mortimer the rose. Then, even as she did 
so, sprang to her feet, and laughed, a little tremulously, 
rnd bade Sir Mortimer Go! Go! Go! Wherefore, Sir 
Mortimer, seeing her thus, and being wise in the ways of 

How Barnabas Climbed a Wall 303 

women, pressed the flower to his lips, and so turned and 
strode off down the path. And when his step had died 
away Cleone sank down in the chair, and spoke. 

" Come out — spy ! " she called. And Barnabas stepped 
out from the leaves. Then, because she knew what look 
was in his eyes, she kept her own averted; and because 
she was a woman young, and very proud, she lashed 
him with her tongue. 

" So much for your watching and listening ! " said she. 

" But — he has your rose ! " said Barnabas. 
> "And what of that? " 

" And he has your promise ! " 

" I never spoke — " 

" But the rose did ! " 

" The rose will fade and wither — " 

" But it bears your promise — " 

" I gave no promise, and — and — oh, why did you — 
look at me ! " 

"Look at you?" 

" Why did you frown at me ? " 

" Why did you give him the rose? " 

" Because it was so my pleasure. Why did you frown 
at me with eyes like — like a devil's ? " 

" I wanted to kill him — then ! " 

"And now?" 

" Now, I wish him well of his bargain, and my thanks 
are due to him." 


" Because, without knowing it, he has taught me what 
women are." 

" What do you mean? " 

" I — loved you, Cleone. To me you were one apart 
— holy, immaculate — " 

"Yes? " said Cleone very softly. 

" And I find you — " 

" Only a — woman, sir, — who will not be watched, and 
frowned at, and spied upon." 

" — a heartless coquette — " said Barnabas. 

304 The Amateur Gentleman 

" — who despises eavesdroppers, and will not be spied 
upon, or frowned at ! " 

" I did not spy upon you," cried Barnabas, stung at 
last, " or if I did, God knows it was well intended." 

" How, sir? " 

" I remembered the last time we three were together,, 

— in Annersley Wood." Here my lady shivered and hid 
her face. " And now, you gave him the rose ! Do you 
want the love of this man, Cleone? " 

" There is only one man in all the world I despise more,, 
and his name is — Barnabas," said she, without looking up* 

" So you — despise me, Cleone? " 

" Yes — Barnabas." 

" And I came here to tell you that I — loved you — ta 
ask you to be my wife — " 

" And looked at me with Devil's eyes — " 

" Because you were mine, and because he — " 

"Yours, Barnabas? I never said so." 

" Because I loved you — worshipped you, and be- 
cause — " 

" Because you were — jealous, Barnabas ! " 

" Because I would have my wife immaculate — " 

" But I am not your — wife." 

" No," said Barnabas, frowning, " she must be im- 

Now when he said this he heard her draw a long, 
quivering sigh, and with the sigh she rose to her feet and 
faced him, and her eyes were wide and very bright, and 
the fan she held snapped suddenly across in her white 

" Sir," she said . very softly, " I whipped you once, if 
I had a whip now, your cheek should burn again." 

" But I should not ask you to kiss it, — this time ! " 
said Barnabas. 

" Yes," she said, in the same soft voice, " I despise you 

— for a creeping spy, a fool, a coward — a maligner of 
women. Oh, go away, — pray go. Leave me, lest I 

How Barnabas Climbed a Wall 305 

But now, seeing the flaming scorn of him in her eyes, # 
in the passionate quiver of her hands, he grew afraid, 
cowed by her very womanhood. 

" Indeed," he stammered, " you are unjust. I — I did 
not mean — " 

" Go ! " said she, cold as ice, " get back over the wall. 
Oh ! I saw you climb over like a — thief ! Go away, before 
I call for help — before I call the grooms and stable-boys 
to whip you out into the road where you belong — go, I 
say ! " And frowning now, she stamped her foot, and 
^pointed to the wall. Then Barnabas laughed softly, sav- 
agely, and, reaching out, caught her up in his long arms 
and crushed her to him. 

" Call if you will, Cleone," said he, " but listen first ! 
I said to you that my wife should come to me immacu- 
late — fortune's spoiled darling though she be, — petted, 
v^ooed, pampered though she is, — and, by God, so you 
shall! For I love you, Cleone, and if I live, I will some 
■day call you ' wife,' — in spite of all your lovers, and all 
the roses that ever bloomed. Now, Cleone, — call them 
if you will." So saying he set her down and freed her 
from his embrace. But my lady, leaning breathless in 
-the doorway, only looked at him once, — frowning a little, 
panting a little, — a long wondering look beneath her 
lashes, and, turning, was gone among the leaves. Then 
Barnabas picked up the broken fan, very tenderly, and 
put it into his bosom, and so sank down into the chair, 
Hs chin propped upon his fist, frowning blackly at the 
glory of the afternoon. 



" Very dramatic, sir ! Though, indeed, you missed an 
opportunity, and — gracious heaven, how he frowns ! " 
A woman's voice, sharp, high-pitched, imperious. 

Barnabas started, and glancing up, beheld an ancient 
lady, very small and very upright; her cheeks were sus- 
piciously pink, her curls suspiciously dark and luxuriant, 
but her eyes were wonderfully young and handsome; one 
slender mittened hand rested upon the ivory head of a 
stick, and in the other she carried a small fan. 

" Now, he stares ! " she exclaimed, as she met his look. 
" Lud, how he stares ! As if I were a ghost, or a goblin, 
instead of only an old woman with raddled cheeks and 
a wig. Oh, yes ! I wear a wig, sir, and very hideous I 
look without it ! But even I was young once upon a time 
— many, many years ago, and quite as beautiful as She, 
indeed, rather more so, I think, — and I should have 
treated you exactly as She did — only more so, — I mean 
Cleone. Your blonde women are either too cold or over- 
passionate, — I know, for my hair was as yellow as 
Cleone's, hundreds of years ago, and I think, more abun- 
dant. To-day, being only a dyed brunette, I am neither 
too cold nor over-passionate, and I tell you, sir, you 
deserved it, every word." 

Here Barnabas rose, and, finding nothing to say, bowed. 

" But," continued the ancient lady, sweeping him with 
a quick, approving gaze, " I like your face, and y-e-s, you 
have a very good leg. You also possess a tongue, per- 
haps, and can speak? " 

" Given the occasion, madam," said Barnabas, smiling. 

An Almost Human Duchess 307 

"Ha, sir! do I talk so much then? Well, perhaps I 
do, for when a woman ceases to talk she 's dead, and 
I 'm very much alive indeed. So you may give me your 
arm, sir, and listen to me, and drop an occasional remark 
while I take breath, — your arm, sir ! " And here the 
small, ancient lady held out a small, imperious hand, while 
her handsome young eyes smiled up into his. 

" Madam, you honor me ! " 

" But I am only an old woman, — with a wig ! " 

" Age is always honorable, madam." 

" Now that is very prettily said, indeed you improve, 
sir. Do you know who I am? " 

" No, madam ; but I can guess." 

" Ah, well, — you shall talk to me. Now, sir, — begin. 
Talk to me of Cleone." 

" Madam — I had rather not." 

"Eh, sir, — you won't?" 

" No, madam." 

" Why, then, I will ! " Here the ancient lady glanced 
up at Barnabas with a malicious little smile. " Let me 
see, now — what were her words? ' Spy,' I think. Ah, 
yes — ' a creeping spy,' ' a fool ' and 6 a coward.' Really, 
I don't think I could have bettered that — even in my best 
days, — especially the ' creeping spy.' " 

" Madam," said Barnabas in frowning surprise, " you 
were listening? " 

" At the back of the arbor," she nodded, " with my 
ear to the panelling, — I am sometimes a little deaf, you 

" You mean that you were — actually prying — ? " 

" And I enj oyed it all very much, especially your 
* immaculate ' speech, which was very heroic, but per- 
fectly ridiculous, of course. Indeed, you are a dreadfully 
young, young sir, I fear. In future, I warn you not to 
tell a woman, too often, how much you respect her, or 
she '11 begin to think you don't love her at all. To be 
over-respectful does n't sit well on a lover, and 't is most 
unfair and very trying to the lady, poor soul! " 

308 The Amateur Gentleman 

" To hearken to a private conversation does n't sit well 
on a lady, madam, or an honorable woman." 

" No, indeed, young sir. But then, you see, I 'm 
neither. I 'm only a Duchess, and a very old one at that, 
and I think I told you I wore a wig? But ' all the world 
loves a lover,' and so do I. As soon as ever I saw you 
I knew you for a lover of the ' everything-or-nothing ' 
type. Oh, yes, all lovers are of different types, sir, and 
I think I know 'em all. You see, when I was young and 
beautiful — ages ago — lovers were a hobby of mine, — 
I studied them, sir. And, of 'em all, I preferred the 
' everything-or-nothing, fire-and-ice, kiss-me-or-kill-me ' 
type. That was why I followed you, that was why I 
watched and listened, and, I grieve to say, I did n't find 
you as deliciously brutal as I had hoped." 

" Brutal, madam? Indeed, I — " 

" Of course ! When you snatched her up in your arms, 
— and I '11 admit you did it very well, — when you had 
her there, you should have covered her with burning 
kisses, and with an oath after each. Girls like Cleone 
need a little brutality and — Ah ! there 's the Countess ! 
And smiling at me quite lovingly, I declare ! Now I won- 
der what rod she has in pickle for me? Dear me, sir, how 
dusty your coat is! And spurred boots and buckskins 
are scarcely the mode for a garden fete. Still, they 're 
distinctive, and show off your leg to advantage, better 
than those abominable Cossack things, — and I doat upon 
a good leg — " But here she broke off and turned to 
greet the Countess, — a large, imposing, bony lady in 
a turban, with the eye and the beak of a hawk. 

" My dearest Letitia ! " 

" My dear Duchess, — my darling Fanny, you 're 
younger than ever, positively you are, — I 'd never have 
believed it ! " cried the Countess, more hawk-like than ever. 
" I heard you were failing fast, but now I look at you, 
dearest Fanny, I vow you don't look a day older than 

" And I 'm seventy-one, alas ! " sighed the Duchess, her 

An Almost Human Duchess 309 

eyes young with mischief. " And you, my sweetest crea- 
ture, — how well you look ! Who would ever imagine that 
we were at school together, Letitia ! " 

" But indeed I was — quite an infant, Fanny." 

" Quite, my love, and used to do my sums for me. 
But let me present to you a young friend of mine, Mr. — 
Mr. — dear, dear ! I quite forget — my memory is going,, 
you see, Letitia ! Mr. — " 

" Beverley, madam," said Barnabas. 

" Thank you, — Beverley, of course ! Mr. Beverley — - 
the Countess of Orme." 

Hereupon Barnabas bowed low before the haughtv stare 
of the keen, hawk-like eyes. 

" And now, my sweet Letty," continued the Duchess* 
" you are always so delightfully gossipy — have you any 
news, — any stories to laugh over?" 

" No, dear Fanny, neither the one nor the other — 
only — " 

"'Only,' my love?" 

" Only — but you 've heard it already, of course, — 
you would be the very first to know of it! " 

" Letitia, my dear — I always hated conundrums* 
you '11 remember." 

" I mean, every one is talking of it, already." 

" Heigho ! How warm the sun is ! " 

" Of course it may be only gossip, but they do say 
Cleone Meredith has refused the hand of your grand- 

" Jerningham, oh yes," added the Duchess, " on the 
whole, it 's just as well." 

" But I thought — " the hawk-eyes were very piercing 
indeed. " I feared it would be quite a blow to you — " 

The Duchess shook her head, with a little ripple of 

" I had formed other plans for him weeks ago, — they 
were quite unsuited to each other, my love." 

" I 'm delighted you take it so well, my own Fann3 r ," 
said the Countess, looking the reverse. " We leave almost 

3 i o The Amateur Gentleman 

immediately, — but when you pass through Sevenoaks, 
you must positively stay with me for a day or two. Good- 
by, my sweet Fanny ! " So the two ancient ladies gravely 
-curtsied to each other, pecked each other on either cheek, 
and, with a bow to Barnabas, the Countess swept away 
vrith an imposing rustle of her voluminous skirts. 

" Cat ! " exclaimed the Duchess, shaking her fan at the 
receding figure ; " the creature hates me fervently, and 
consequently, kisses me — on both cheeks. Oh, yes, in- 
deed, sir, she detests me — and quite naturally. You see, 
we were girls together, — she 's six months my junior, and 
has never let me forget it, — and the Duke — God rest 
him — admired us both, and, well, — I married him. And 
so Cleone has actually refused poor Jerningham, — the 
yellow-maned minx ! " 

"Why, then — you didn't know of it?" inquired 

" Oh, Innocent ! of course I did n't. I 'm not omniscient, 
and I only ordered him to propose an hour ago. The 
golden hussy! the proud jade! Refuse my grand-nephew 
indeed ! Well, there 's one of your rivals disposed of, it 
seems, — count that to your advantage, sir! " 

" But," said Barnabas, frowning and shaking his head, 
" Sir Mortimer Carnaby has her promise ! " 

" Fiddlesticks ! " 

" She gave him the rose ! " said Barnabas, between 
set teeth. The Duchess tittered. 

" Dear heart ! how tragic you are ! " she sighed. " Sup- 
pose she did, — what then? And besides — hum! This 
time it is young D'Arcy, it seems, — callow, pink, and 
quite harmless." 

" Madam? " said Barnabas, wondering. 

" Over there — behind the marble faun, — quite harm- 
less, and very pink, you '11 notice. I mean young D'Arcy 
— not the faun. Clever minx ! Now I mean Cleone, of 
course — there she is ! " Following the direction of the 
Duchess's pointing fan, Barnabas saw Cleone, sure enough. 
IHer eyes were drooped demurely before the ardent gaze 

An Almost Human Duchess 311 

of the handsome, pink-cheeked young soldier who stood 
before her, and in her white fingers she held — a single red 
rose. Now, all at once, (and as though utterly uncon- 
scious of the burning, watchful eyes of Barnabas) she 
lifted the rose to her lips, and, smiling, gave it into the 
young soldier's eager hand. Then they strolled away, his 
epaulette very near the gleaming curls at her temple. 

" Lud, young sir ! " exclaimed the Duchess, catching 
Barnabas by the coat, " how dreadfully sudden you are in 
your movements — " 

" Madam, pray loose me ! " 


" I 'm going — I cannot bear — any more ! " 

" You mean — ? " 

" I mean that — she has — " 

" A very remarkable head, she is as resourceful as I 
was — almost." 

" Resourceful ! " exclaimed Barnabas, " she is — " 

" An extremely clever girl — " 

" Madam, pray let me go." 

" No, sir ! my finger is twisted in your buttonhole, — 
if you pull yourself away I expect you '11 break it, so 
pray don't pull; naturally, I detest pain. And I have 
much to talk about." 

" As you will, madam," said Barnabas, frowning. 

" First, tell me — you 're quite handsome when you 
frown, — first, sir, why were n't you formally presented 
to me with the other guests? " 

" Because I 'm not a guest, madam." 

" Sir — explain yourself." 

" I mean that I came — over the wall, madam." 

" The wall ! Climbed over? " 

"Yes, madam!" 

" Dear heaven ! The monstrous audacity of the man ! 
You came to see Cleone, of course?" 

" Yes, madam." 

" Ah, very right, — very proper ! I remember I had 
a lover — in the remote ages, of course, — who used to 

312 The Amateur Gentleman 

climb — ah, well, — no matter ! Though his wall was 
much higher than yours yonder." Here the Duchess 
sighed tenderly. " Well, you came to see Cleone, you 
found her, — and nicely you behaved to each other when 
you met ! Youth is always so dreadfully tragic ! But 
then what would love be without a little tragedy? And 
oh — dear heaven ! — how you must adore each other ! 
Oh, Youth ! Youth ! — and there 's Sir George Anners- 

" Then, madam, you must excuse me ! " said Barnabas, 
glancing furtively from the approaching figures to the 
adjacent wall. 

" Oh dear, no. Sir George is with Jerningham and 
Maj or Piper, a heavy dragoon — the heaviest in all the 
world, I 'm sure. You must meet them." 

"No, indeed — I — " 

" Sir," said the Duchess, buttonholing him again, "I 
insist ! Oh, Sir George — gentlemen ! " she called. Here- 
upon three lounging figures turned simultaneously, and 
came hurrying towards them. 

" Why, Duchess ! " exclaimed Sir George, a large, 
mottled gentleman in an uncomfortable cravat, " we have 
all been wondering what had become of your Grace, 
and — " Here Sir George's sharp eye became fixed upon 
Barnabas, upon his spurred boots, his buckskins, his dusty 
coat ; and Sir George's mouth opened, and he gave a tug 
at his cravat. 

" Deuce take me — it 's Beverley ! " exclaimed the Mar- 
quis, and held out his hand. 

" What — you know each other? " the Duchess 

" Mr. Beverley is riding in the steeplechase on the fif- 
teenth," the Marquis answered. Hereupon Sir George 
stared harder than ever, and gave another tug at his high 
cravat, while Major Piper, who had been looking very 
hard at nothing in particular, glanced at Barnabas with 
a gleam of interest and said " Haw ! " 

As for the Duchess, she clapped her hands. 

An Almost Human Duchess 313 

" And he never told me a word of it ! " she exclaimed. 
" Of course all my money is on Jerningham, — though 
' Moonraker ' carries the odds, but I must have a hun- 
dred or two on Mr. Beverley for — friendship's sake." 

" Friendship ! " exclaimed the Marquis, " oh, begad ! " 
Here he took out his snuff-box, tapped it, and put it in 
his pocket again. 

" Yes. gentlemen," smiled the Duchess, " this is a friend 
of mine who — dropped in upon me, as it were, quite unex- 
pectedly — over the wall, in fact." 

" Wall ! " exclaimed Sir George. 

" The deuce you did, Beverley ! " said the Marquis. 

As for Major Piper, he hitched his dolman round, and 
merely said: 


" Yes," said Barnabas, glancing from one to the other, 
" I am a trespasser here, and, Sir George, I fear I dam- 
aged some of your flowers ! " 

" Flowers ! " repeated Sir George, staring from Barna- 
bas to the Duchess and back again, " Oh ! " 

" And now — pray let me introduce you," said the 
Duchess. " My friend Mr. Beverley — Sir George An- 
nersley. Mr. Beverley — Major Piper." 

" A friend of her Grace is always welcome here, sir," 
said Sir George, extending a mottled hand. 

" Delighted! " smiled the Major, saluting him in turn. 

"But what in the world brings you here, Beverley? " 
inquired the Marquis. 

" I do," returned his great-aunt. " Many a man has 
climbed a wall on my account before to-day, Marquis, 
and remember I 'm only just — seventy-one, and growing 
younger every hour, — now am I not, Major? " 

" Haw ! — Precisely ! Not a doubt, y' Grace. Soul 
and honor ! Haw ! " 

" Marquis — your arm, Mr. Beverley — yours ! Now, 
Sir George, show us the way to the marquee ; I 'm dying 
for a dish of tea, I vow I am ! " 

314 Th e Amateur Gentleman 

Thus, beneath the protecting wing of a Duchess was 
Barnabas given his first taste of Quality and Blood. 
Which last, though blue beyond all shadow of doubt, yet 
manifested itself in divers quite ordinary ways as, — in 
complexions of cream and roses; in skins sallow and 
wrinkled ; in noses haughtily Roman or patricianly Greek, 
in noses mottled and unclassically uplifted ; in black hair, 
white hair, yellow, brown, and red hair ; — such combina- 
tions as he had seen many and many a time on village 
greens, and at country wakes and fairs. Yes, all was the 
same, and yet — how vastly different ! For here voices 
were softly modulated, arms and hands gracefully borne, 
heads carried high, movement itself an artful science. 
Here eyes were raised or lowered with studied effect ; beau- 
tiful shoulders, gracefully shrugged, became dimpled and 
irresistible ; faces with perfect profiles were always — in 
profile. Here, indeed, Age and Homeliness went clothed 
in magnificence, and Youth and Beauty walked hand in 
liand with Elegance; while everywhere was a graceful 
•ease that had been learned and studied with the Cate- 
chism. Barnabas was in a world of silks and satins and 
glittering gems, of broadcloth and fine linen, where such 
things are paramount and must be lived up to; a world 
^rfiere the friendship of a Duchess may transform a no- 
body into a SOMEBODY, to be bowed to by the most 
elaborate shirtfronts, curtsied to by the haughtiest of tur- 
bans, and found worthy of the homage of bewitching eyes, 
seductive dimples, and entrancing profiles. 

In a word, Barnabas had attained — even unto the 
World of Fashion. 




" Gad, Beverley ! how the deuce did y ' do it ? " 

" Do what, Marquis ? " 

" Charm the Serpent ! Tame the Dragon ! " 


" Make such a conquest of her Graceless Grace of Cam- 
berhurst, my great-aunt ? I did n't know you were even 
acquainted,- — how long have you known her? " 

" About an hour," said Barnabas. 

"Eh — an hour? But, my dear fellow, you came to 
see her — over the wall, you know, — she said so, and — " 

" She said so, yes, Marquis, but — " 

" But ? Oh, I see ! Ah, to be sure ! She is my great- 
aunt, of course, and my great-aunt, Beverley, generally 
thinks, and does, and says — exactly what she pleases. 
Begad ! you never can tell what she '11 be up to next, — 
consequently every one is afraid of her, even those high 
goddesses of the beau monde, those exclusive grandes 
dames, my Ladies Castlereagh, Jersey, Cowper and the 
rest of 'em — they 're all afraid of my small great-aunt, 
and no wonder ! You see, she 's old — older than she 
looks, and — with a perfectly diabolical memory ! She 
knows not only all their own peccadillos, but the sins of 
their great-grandmothers as well. She fears nothing on 
the earth, or under the earth, and respects no one — not 
even me. Only about half an hour ago she informed me 
that I was a — well, she told me precisely what I was, — 
and she can be painfully blunt, Beverley, — just because 
Cleone happens to have refused me again." 

316 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Again? " said Barnabas inquiringly. 

" Oh, yes ! She does it regularly. Begad ! she 's re- 
fused me so often that it 's grown into a kind of formula 
with us now. I say, ' Cleone, do ! ' and she answers, 6 Bob, 
don't ! ' But even that 's something, — lots of 'em have n't 
got so far as that with her." 

" Sir Mortimer Carnaby, for instance ! " said Barnabas, 
biting his lip. 

" Hum ! " said the Marquis dubiously, deftly re-settling 
his cravat, " and what of — yourself, Beverley? " 

" I have asked her — only twice, I think." 

" Ah, and she — refused you ? " 

" No," sighed Barnabas, " she told me she — despised 

" Did she so ? Give me your hand — I did n't think 
you were so strong in the running. With Cleone's sort 
there 's always hope so long as she is n't sweet and gra- 
ciously indifferent." 

" Pray," said Barnabas suddenly, " pray where did you 
get that rose, Marquis ? " 

" This? Oh, she gave it to me." 


" Of course." 

" But — I thought she 'd refused you? " 

"Oh, yes — so she ctid; but that's just like Cleone, 
frowning one moment, smiling the next — April, you 

" And did she — kiss it first? " 

" Kiss it? Why — deuce take me, now I come to think 
of it, — so she did, — at least — What now, Beverley? " 

" I 'm — going ! " said Barnabas. 

"Going? Where?" 

" Back — over the wall ! " 

" Eh ! — run away, is it? " 

" As far," said Barnabas, scowling, " as far as possible. 
Good-by, Marquis ! " And so he turned and strode away, 
while the Marquis stared after him, open-mouthed. But 
as he went, Barnabas heard a voice calling his name, and 

Happenings at the Garden Fete 317 

looking round, beheld Captain Chumly coming towards 
him. A gallant figure he made (despite grizzled hair 
and empty sleeve), in all the bravery of his white silk 
stockings, and famous Trafalgar coat, which, though a 
little tarnished as to epaulettes and facings, nevertheless 
bore witness to the Bo'sun's diligent care ; he was, indeed, 
from the crown of his cocked hat down to his broad, silver 
shoe-buckles, the very pattern of what a post-captain of 
Lord Nelson should be. 

" Eh, sir ! " he exclaimed, with his hand outstretched in 
greeting, " are ye blind, I say are ye blind and deaf? 
Did n't you hear her Grace hailing you ? Did n't ye see 
me signal you to ' bring to '? " 

" No, sir," answered Barnabas, grasping the proffered 

" Oho ! " said the Captain, surveying Barnabas from 
head to foot, " so you 've got 'em on, I see, and vastly 
different you look in your fine feathers. But you can 
sink me, — I say you can scuttle and sink me if I don't 
prefer you in your homespun ! You '11 be spelling 
your name with as many unnecessary letters, and 
twirls, and flourishes as you can clap in, nowadays, I '11 

" Jack Chumly, don't bully the boy ! " said a voice 
near by; and looking thitherward, Barnabas beheld the 
Duchess seated at a small table beneath a shady tree, 
and further screened by a tall hedge; a secluded corner, 
far removed from the throng, albeit a most excellent place 
for purposes of observation, commanding as it did a wide 
view of lawns and terraces. " As for you, Mr. Beverley," 
continued the Duchess, with her most imperious air, " you 
may bring a seat — here, beside me, — and help the Cap- 
tain to amuse me." 

" Madam," said Barnabas, his bow very solemn and 
very deep, " I am about to leave, and — with your per- 
mission — I — " 

" You have my permission to — sit here beside me, sir. 
So! A dish of tea? No? Ah, well — we were just talk- 

318 The Amateur Gentleman 

ing of you; the Captain was describing how he first met 
you — " 

" Bowing to a gate-post, mam, — on my word as a 
sailor and a Christian, it was a gate-post, — I say, an 
accurs — a confoundedly rotten old stick of a gate-post." 

" I remember," sighed Barnabas. 

" And to-day, sir," continued the Captain, " to-day you 
must come clambering over a gentleman's garden wall to 
bow and scrape to a — " 

" Don't dare to say — another stick, Jack Chumly ! " 
cried the Duchess. 

" I repeat, sir, you must come trespassing here, to bow 
— I say bah ! and scrape — " 

" I say tush ! " interpolated the Duchess demurely. 

" To an old — " 

" Painted ! " suggested the Duchess. 

" Hum ! " said the Captain, a little hipped, " I say — 
ha ! — lady, sir — ■ " 

" With a wig ! " added the Duchess. 

" And with a young and handsome, — I say a hand- 
some and roguish pair of eyes, sir, that need no artificial 
aids, mam, nor ever will ! " 

" Three ! " cried the Duchess, clapping her hands. " Oh, 
Jack ! Jack Chumly ! you, like myself, improve with age ! 
As a midshipman you were too callow, as a lieutenant 
much too old and serious, but now that you are a battered 
and wrinkled young captain, you can pay as pretty a 
compliment as any other gallant youth. Actually three 
in one hour, Mr. Beverley." 

" Compliments, mam ! " snorted the Captain, with an 
angry flap of his empty sleeve, " Compliments, I scorn 
'em ! I say pish, mam, — I say bah ! I speak only the 
truth, mam, as well you know." 

" Four ! " cried the Duchess, with a gurgle of youthful 
laughter. " Oh, Jack ! Jack ! I protest, as you sit there 
you are growing more youthful every minute." 

" Gad so, mam ! then I '11 go before I become a mewling 
infant — I say a puling brat, mam." 

Happenings at the Garden Fete 319 

" Stay a moment, Jack. I want you to explain your 
wishes to Mr. Beverley in regard to Cleone's future." 

" Certainly, your Grace — I say by all means, mam." 

" Very well, then I '11 begin. Listen — both of you. 
Captain Chumly, being a bachelor and consequently an 
authority on marriage, has, very properly, chosen whom 
his ward must marry; he has quite settled and arranged 
it all, have n't you, Jack? " 

" Quite, mam, quite." 

" Thus, Cleone is saved all the bother and worry of 
choosing for herself, you see, Mr. Beverley, for the .Cap- 
tain's choice is fixed, — is 't it, Jack? " 

" As a rock, mam — I say as an accurs — ha ! an ada- 
mantine crag, mam. My ward shall marry my nephew, 
Visccunt Devenham, I am determined on it — " 

" Consequently, Mr. Beverley, Cleone will, of course, 
marry — whomsoever she pleases ! " 

• Eh, mam? I say, what? — I say — " 

" Like the feminine creature she is, Mr. Beverley ! " 

" Now by Og, — I say by Og and Gog, mam ! She is 
my ward, and so long as I am her guardian she shall 
obey — " 

" I say boh ! Jack Chumly, — I say bah ! " mocked the 
Duchess, nodding her head at him. " Cleone is much too 
clever for you — or any other man, and there is only one 
woman in this big world who is a match for her, and that 
woman is — me. I 've watched her growing up — day by 
day — year after year into — just what I was — ages 
ago, — and to-day she is — almost as beautiful, — and 

— very nearly as clever ! " 

" Clever, mam? So she is, but I 'm her guardian and 

— she loves me — I think, and — " 

" Of course she loves you, Jack, and winds you round 
her finger whenever she chooses — " 

" Finger, mam ! finger indeed ! No, mam, I can be firm 
with her." 

" As a candle before the fire, Jack. She can bend you 
to all the points of your compass. Come now, she brought 

320 The Amateur Gentleman 

you here this afternoon against your will, — now did n't 

" Ah ! — hum ! " said the Captain, scratching his chin. 

" And coaxed you into your famous Trafalgar uniform, 
now did n't she ? " 

" Why as to that, mam, I say — " 

" And petted you into staying here much longer than 
you intended, now did n't she ? " 

" Which reminds me that it grows late, mam," said the 
Captain, taking out his watch and frowning at it. " I 
must find my ward. I say I will bring Cleone to make you 
her adieux." So saying, he bowed and strode away across 
the lawn. T " *h^ 

" Poor Jack," smiled the Duchess, " he is such a dear, 
good, obedient child, and he does n't know it. And so 
your name is Beverley, hum ! Of the Beverleys of Ashley- 
down? Yet, no, — that branch is extinct, I know. Pray 
what branch are you? Why, here comes Sir Mortimer 
Carnaby, — heavens, how handsome he is ! And you 
thrashed him, I think? Oh, I know all about it, sir, and 
I know — why ! " 

" Then," said Barnabas, somewhat taken aback, " you '11 
know he deserved it, madam." 

" Mm! Have you met him since? " 

" No, indeed, nor have I any desire to ! " 

" Oh, but you must," said the Duchess, and catching 
Sir Mortimer's gaze, she smiled and beckoned him, and 
next moment he was bowing before her. " My dear Sir 
Mortimer," said she, " I don't think you are acquainted 
with my friend, Mr. Beverley? " 

" No," answered Sir Mortimer with a perfunctory 
glance at Barnabas. 

" Ah ! I thought not. Mr. Beverley — - Sir Mortimer 

" Honored, sir," said Sir Mortimer, as they bowed. 

" Mr. Beverley is, I believe, an opponent of yours, 
Sir Mortimer? " pursued the Duchess, with her placid 

Happenings at the Garden Fete 321 

" An opponent! indeed, your Grace? " said he, favoring 
Barnabas with another careless glance. 

" I mean — in the race, of course," smiled the Duchess. 
"But oh, happy man! So you have been blessed also? " 

"How, Duchess?" 

" I see you wear Cleone's favor, — you 've been ad- 
mitted to the Order of the Rose, like all the others." And 
the Duchess tittered. 

" Others, your Grace ! What others ? " 

" Oh, sir, their name is Legion. There 's Jerningham, 
and young Denton, and Snelgrove, and Ensign D'Arcy, 
and hosts beside. Lud, Sir Mortimer, where are your 
eyes ? Look there ! and there ! and there again ! " And, 
with little darting movements of her fan, she indicated 
certain young gentlemen, who strolled to and fro upon 
the lawn; now, in the lapel of each »f their coats was a 
single, red rose. " There 's safety in numbers, and Cleone 
was always cautious ! " said the Duchess, and tittered 

Sir Mortimer glanced from those blooms to the flower 
in his own coat, and his cheek grew darkly red, and his 
mouth took on a cruel look. 

" Ah, Duchess," he smiled, " it seems our fair Cleone 
has an original idea of humor, — very quaint, upon my 
soul ! " And" so he laughed, and bowing, turned away. 

" Now — watch ! " said the Duchess, " there ! " As she 
spoke, Sir Mortimer paused, and with a sudden fierce 
gesture tore the rose from his coat and tossed it away. 
" Now really," said the Duchess, leaning back and fanning 
herself placidly, " I think that was vastly clever of me ; 
you should be grateful, sir, and so should Cleone — hush ! 
— here she comes, at last." 

"Where?" inquired Barnabas, glancing up hastily. 

" Ssh ! behind us — on the other side of the hedge — 
clever minx ! " 

" Why then — " 

" Sit still, sir — hush, I say ! " 

" So that is the reason," said Cleone's clear voice, speak- 

322 The Amateur Gentleman 

ing within a yard of them, " that is why you dislike Mr, 
Beverley? " 

" Yes, and because of his presumption ! " said a second 
voice, at the sound of which Barnabas flushed and started 
angrily, whereupon the Duchess instantly hooked him by 
the buttonhole again. 

" His presumption in what, Mr. Chichester? " 

" In his determined pursuit of you." 

" Is he in pursuit of me? " 

" Cleone — you know he is ! " 

" But how do you happen to know? " 

" From his persecution of poor Ronald, for one 

" Persecution, sir ? " 

" It amounted to that. He found his way to Ronald's 
wretched lodging, and tempted the poor fellow with his 
gold, — indeed almost commanded Ronald to allow him to 
pay off his debts — " 

" But Ronald refused, of course? " said Cleone quickly. 

" Of course ! I was there, you see, and this Beverley 
is a stranger ! " 

" A stranger — yes." 

" And yet, Cleone, when your unfortunate brother re- 
fused his money, — this utter stranger, this Good Samari- 
tan, — actually went behind Ronald's back and offered to 
buy up his debts ! Such a thing might be done by father 
for son, or brother for brother, but why should any man 
do so much for an utter stranger — ? " 

" Either because he is very base, or very — noble ! " 
said Cleone. 

" Noble ! I tell you such a thing is quite impossible 
— unheard of! No man would part with a fortune to 
benefit a stranger — unless he had a powerful motive ! " 

" Well? " said Cleone softly. 

" Well, Cleone, I happen to know that motive is — 
yourself ! " Here the Duchess, alert as usual, caught 
Barnabas by the cravat, and only just in time. 

Sit still — hush ! " she whispered, glancing up into 


Happenings at the Garden Fete 323 

his distorted face, for Mr. Chichester was going on in his 
soft, deliberate voice: 

" Oh, it is all very simple, Cleone, and very clumsy, — 
thus, see you. In the guise of Good Samaritan this 
stranger buys the debts of the brother, trusting to the 
gratitude of the sister. He knows your pride, Cleone, so 
he would buy your brother and put you under lasting 
obligation to himself. The scheme is a little coarse, and 
very clumsy, — but then, he is young." 

" And you say — he tried to pay these debts — without 
Ronald's knowledge? Are you sure — quite sure? " 

" Quite ! And I know, also, that when Ronald's creditor 
refused, he actually offered to double — to treble the sum ! 
But, indeed, you would be cheap at sixty thousand pounds, 

" Oh — hateful ! " she cried. 

" Crude, yes, and very coarse, but, as I said before, he 
is young — what, are you going? " 

" Yes — no. Pray find my guardian and bring him to 

" First, tell me I may see you again, Cleone, before I 
leave for London? " 

" Yes," said Cleone, after a momentary hesitation. 

Thereafter came the tread of Mr. Chichester's feet upon 
the gravel, soft and deliberate, like his voice. 

Then Barnabas sighed, a long, bitter sigh, and looking 
up — saw Cleone standing before him. 

" Ah, dear Godmother ! " said she lightly, " I hope your 
Grace was able to hear well? " 

" Perfectly, my dear, thank you — every word," nodded 
the Duchess, " though twice Mr. Beverley nearly spoilt 
it all. I had to hold him dreadfully tight, — see how 
I 've crumpled his beautiful cravat. Dear me, how im- 
petuous you are, sir! As for you, Cleone, sit down, my 
dear, — that 's it ! — positively I 'm proud of you, — kiss 
me, — I mean about the roses. It was vastly clever ! You 
are myself over again." 

"Your Grace honors me!" said Cleone, her eyes 

324 The Amateur Gentleman 

demure, but with a dimple at the corner of her red 

" And I congratulate you. I was a great success — in 
my day. Ah me ! I remember seeing you — an hour after 
you were born. You were very pink, Cleone, and as bald 
as — as I am, without my wig. No — pray sit still, — 
Mr. Beverley is n't looking at you, and he was just as bald, 
once, I expect — and will be again, I hope. Even at that 
early age you pouted at me, Cleone, and I liked you for it. 
You are pouting now, Miss ! To-day Mr. Beverley frowns 
at me, and I like him for it, — besides, he 's very hand- 
some when he frowns, don't you think, Cleone? " 

" Madam — " began Barnabas, with an angry look. 

" Ah ! now you 're going to quarrel with me, — well, 
there's the Major, — I shall go. If you must quarrel 
with some one, — try Cleone, she 's young, and, I think, 
a match for you. Oh, Major! Major Piper, pray lend 
your arm and protection to a poor, old, defenceless 
woman." So saying, the Duchess rose, and the Major, 
bowing gallantly gave her the limb she demanded, and 
went off with her, * haw '-ing in his best and most pon- 
derous manner. 

Barnabas sat, chin in hand, staring at the ground, half 
expecting that Cleone would rise and leave him. But no ! 
My lady sat leaning back in her chair, her head carelessly 
averted, but watching him from the corners of her eyes. 
A sty look it was, a searching, critical look, that took close 
heed to all things, as — the fit and excellence of his 
clothes ; the unconscious grace of his attitude ; the hair 
that curled so crisp and dark at his temples; the woeful 
droop of his lips ; — a long, inquisitive look, a look wholly 
feminine. Yes, he was certainly handsome, handsomer 
even than she had thought. And finding him so, she 
frowned, and, frowning, spoke: 

" So you meant to buy me, sir — as you would a horse 
or dog? " 

" No," said Barnabas, without looking up, and speak- 
ing almost humbly. 

"So you meant to buy me, sir — as you would 
a horse or dog ? " 

Page 324 


Happenings at the Garden Fete 325 

" It would have been the same thing, sir," she con- 
tinued, a little more haughtily in consequence. " You 
would have put upon me an obligation I could never, 
never have hoped to repay? " 

" Yes, I see my error now," said Barnabas, his head 
sinking lower. " I acted for the best, but I am a fool, and 
a clumsy one it seems. I meant only to serve you, to fulfil 
the mission you gave me, and I blundered — because I am 

— very ignorant. If you can forgive me, do so." 

Now this humility was new in him, and because of this, 
and because she was a woman, she became straightway 
more exacting, and questioned him again. 

" But why — why did you do it ? " 

" You asked me to save your brother, and I could see 
no other way — " 

" How so? Please explain." 

" I meant to free him from the debt which is crushing 
him down and unmanning him." 

" But — oh, don't you see — he would still be in debt 

— to you?" 

" I had forgotten that ! " sighed Barnabas. 

" Forgotten it? " she repeated. 


Surely no man could lie, whose eyes were so truthful 
and steadfast. 

" And so you went and offered to — buy up his 

" Yes." 

" For three times the proper sum? " 

" I would have paid whatever was asked." 


" Because I promised you to help him," answered 
Barnabas, staring at the ground again. 

" You must be — very rich? " said Cleone, stealing an- 
other look at him. 

" I am." 

" And — supposing you had taken over the debt, who 
did you think would ever repay you? " 

326 The Amateur Gentleman 

" It never occurred to me." 

" And you would have done — all this for a — - 
stranger? " 

" No, but because of the promise I gave." 

Yes, — but, as God sees me, I would have looked for 
no recompense at your hands." 


" Never — unless — " 

" Unless, sir? " 

" Unless I — I had dreamed it possible that you — 
could ever have — loved me." Barnabas was actually 
stammering, and he was looking at her — pleadingly, she 
knew, but this time my lady kept her face averted, of 
course. Wherefore Barnabas sighed, and his head droop- 
ing, stared at the ground again. And after he had stared 
thus, for perhaps a full minute, my lady spoke, but with 
her face still averted. 

" The moon is at the full to-night, I think ? " 

Barnabas (lifting his head suddenly). " Yes." 

Cleone (quite aware of his quick glance). "And — 
how do you like — the Duchess? " 

Barnabas (staring at the ground again). "I don't 

Cleone (with unnecessary emphasis). " Why, she is 
the dearest, best, cleverest old godmother in all the world, 

Barnabas (humbly). "Yes." 

Cleone (with a side glance). " Are you riding back to 
London to-night? " 

Barnabas (nodding drearily). "Yes." 

Cleone (watching him more keenly). "It should be 
glorious to gallop under a — full-orbed moon." 

Barnabas (shaking his head mournfully). "London 
is a great way from — here." 

Cleone (beginning to twist a ring on her finger ner- 
vously). "Do you remember the madman we met — at 
Oakshott's Barn? " 

Happenings at the Garden Fete 327 

Barnabas (sighing). "Yes. I met him in London, 

Cleone (clasping her hands together tightly). "Did 
he talk about — the moon again? " 

Barnabas (still sighing, and dense). " No, it was about 
some shadow, I think." 

Cleone (frowning at him a little). "Well — do you 
remember what he prophesied — about — an ' orbed 
moon ' — and ' Barnaby Bright '? " 

Barnabas (glancing up with sudden interest). "Yes, 

— yes, he said we should meet again at Barnaby Bright 

— under an orbed moon ! " 

Cleone (head quite averted now, and speaking over her 
shoulder). "Do you remember the old finger-post — on 
the Hawkhurst road? " 

Barnabas (leaning towards her eagerly). "Yes — do 
you mean — Oh, Cleone — ? " 

Cleone (rising, and very demure). " Here comes the 
Duchess with my Guardian — hush ! At nine o'clock, sir." 



Evening, with the promise of a glorious night later on; 
evening, full of dewy scents, of lengthening shadows, of 
soft, unaccountable noises, of mystery and magic; and, 
over all, a rising moon, big and yellow. Thus, as he went, 
Barnabas kept his eyes bent thitherward, and his step 
was light and his heart sang within him for gladness, it 
was in the very air, and in the whole fair world was no 
space for care or sorrow, for his dreams were to be 
realized at a certain finger-post on the Hawkhurst road, 
on the stroke of nine. Therefore, as he strode along, 
being only human after all, Barnabas fell a-whistling to 
himself under his breath. And his thoughts were all of 
Cleone, of the subtle charm of her voice, of the dimple 
in her chin, of her small, proud feet, and her thousand 
sly bewitchments; but, at the memory of her glowing 
beauty, his flesh thrilled and his breath caught. Then, 
upon the quietude rose a voice near by, that spoke from 
where the shadows lay blackest, — a voice low and muffled, 
speaking as from the ground: 

" How long, oh Lord, how long? " 

And, looking within the shadow, Barnabas beheld one 
who lay face down upon the grass, and coming nearer, 
soft-footed, he saw the gleam of silver hair, and stooping, 
touched the prostrate figure. Wherefore the heavy head 
was raised, and the mournful voice spoke again : 

"Is it you, young sir? You will grieve, I think, to 
learn that my atonement is not complete, my pilgrimage 
unfinished. I must wander the roads again, preaching 

A Surprising Discovery 329 

Forgiveness, for, sir, — Clemency is gone, my Beatrix is 
vanished. I am — a day too late ! Only one day, sir, 
and there lies the bitterness." 

" Gone! " cried Barnabas, " gone? " 

" She left the place yesterday, very early in the morn- 
ing, — fled away none knows whither, — I am too late ! 
Sir, it is very bitter, but God's will be done ! " 

Then Barnabas sat down in the shadow, and took the 
Preacher's hand, seeking to comfort him: 

" Sir," said he gently, " tell me of it." 

" Verily, for it is soon told, sir. I found the place you 
mentioned, I found there also, one — old like myself, a 
sailor by his look, who sat bowed down with some grievous 
sorrow. And, because of my own joy, I strove to com- 
fort him, and trembling with eagerness, hearkening for the 
step of her I had sought so long, I told him why I was 
there. So I learned I was too late after all, — she had 
gone, and his grief was mine also. He was very kind, he 
showed me her room, a tiny chamber under the eaves, 
but wondrous fair and sweet with flowers, and all things 
orderly, as her dear hands had left them. And so we 
stayed there a while, — two old men, very silent and full 
of sorrow. And in a while, though he would have me rest 
there the night, I left, and walked I cared not whither, 
and, being weary, lay down here wishful to die. But 
I may not die until my atonement be complete, and may- 
hap — some day I shall find her yet. For God is a just 
God, and His will be done. Amen ! " 

" But why — why did she go? " cried Barnabas. 

" Young sir, the answer is simple, the man Chichester 
had discovered her refuge. She was afraid ! " Here the 
Apostle of Peace fell silent, and sat with bent head and 
lips moving as one who prayed. When at last he looked 
up, a smile was on his lips. " Sir," said he, " it is only 
the weak who repine, for God is just, and I know I shall 
find her before I die ! " So saying he rose, though like 
one who is very weary, and stood upon his feet. 

" Where are you going? " Barnabas inquired. 

330 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Sir, my trust is in God, I take to the road again." 

"To search for her?" 

" To preach for her. And when I have preached suffi- 
ciently, God will bring me to her. So come, young sir, 
if you will, let us walk together as far as we may." 
Thus, together, they left the shadow and went on, side 
by side, in the soft radiance of the rising moon. 

" Sir," said Barnabas after a while, seeing his com- 
panion was very silent, and that his thin hands often 
griped and wrung each other, — that gesture which was 
more eloquent than words, — " Sir, is there anything I can 
do to lighten your sorrow? " 

" Yes, young sir, heed it well, let it preach to you this 
great truth, that all the woes and ills we suffer are but 
the necessary outcome of our own acts. Oh sir, — young 
sir, in you and me, as in all other men, there lies a power 
that may help to make or mar the lives of our fellows, a 
mighty power, yet little dreamed of, and we call it In- 
fluence. For there is no man but he must, of necessity, 
influence, to a more or less degree, the conduct of those 
he meets, whether he will or no, — and there lies the terror 
of it ! Thus, to some extent, we become responsible for 
the actions of our neighbors, even after we are dead, .for 
Influence is immortal. Man is a pebble thrown into the 
pool of Life, — a splash, a bubble, and he is gone ! But 

— the ripples of Influence he leaves behind go on widening 
and ever widening until they reach the farthest bank. Oh, 
had I but dreamed of this in my youth, I might have been 

— a happy man to-night, and — others also. In helping 
others we ourselves are blessed, for a noble thought, a 
kindly word, a generous deed, are never lost ; such things 
cannot go to waste, they are our monuments after we are 
dead, and live on forever." 

So, talking thus, they reached a gate, and, beyond the 
gate, a road, white beneath the moon, winding away be- 
tween shadowy hedges. 

" You are for London, I fancy, young sir? " 

" Yes." 

A Surprising Discovery 331 

" Then we part here. But before I bid you God speed, 
I would know your name ; mine is Darville — Ralph 

" And mine, sir, is Barnabas — Beverley." 

" Beverley ! " said the Preacher, glancing up quickly, 
" of Ashley down ? " 

" Sir," said Barnabas, " surely they are all dead? " 

" True, true ! " nodded the Preacher, " the name is ex- 
tinct. That is how the man — Chichester came into the 
inheritance. I knew the family well, years ago. The 
brothers died abroad, Robert, the elder, with his regiment 
in the Peninsula, Francis, in battle at sea, and Joan — 
like my own poor Beatrix, was unhappy, and ran away, 
but she was never heard of again." 

" And her name was Joan? " said Barnabas slowly, 
" Joan — Beverley? " 

" Yes." 

" Sir, Joan Beverley was my mother ! I took her name 
— Beverley — for a reason." 

" Your mother ! Ah, I understand it now ; you are 
greatly like her, at times, it was the resemblance that 
puzzled me before. But, sir — if Joan Beverley was your 
mother, why then — " 

" Then, Chichester has no right to the property? " 


"And — I have?" 

" If you can prove your descent." 

"Yes," said Barnabas, "but — to whom?" 

" You must seek out a Mr. Gregory Dyke, of Lincoln's 
Inn ; he is the lawyer who administered the estate — " 

" Stay," said Barnabas, " let me write it down." 

" And now, young sir," said the Preacher, when he 
had answered all the eager questions of Barnabas as fully 
as he might, " now, young sir, you know I have small 
cause to love the man — Chichester, but, remember, you 
are rich already, and if you take this heritage also, — he 
will be destitute." 

" Sir," said Barnabas, frowning, " better one desti- 

332 The Amateur Gentleman 

tute and starving, than that many should be wretched, 

The Preacher sighed and shook his head. 

" Young sir, good-by," said he, " I have a feeling we 
may meet again, but life is very uncertain, therefore I 
would beg of you to remember this: as you are strong, 
be gentle ; as you are rich, generous ; and as you are 
young, wise. But, above all, be merciful, and strive to 
forgive wrongs." So they clasped hands, then, sighing,, 
the Preacher turned and plodded on his lonely way. But,. 
long after he had vanished down the moonlit road. Barna- 
bas stood, his fists clenched, his mouth set, until he was 
roused by a sound near by, a very small sound like the 
jingle of distant spurs. Therefore, Barnabas lifted his. 
head, and glanced about him, but seeing no one, presently 
went his way, slow of foot and very thoughtful. 



The hands of Natty Bell's great watch were pointing to 
the hour of nine, what time Barnabas dismounted at the 
cross-roads, and tethering Four-legs securely, leaned his 
back against the ancient finger-post to wait the coming 
of Cleone. 

Now being old, and having looked upon many and divers 
men (and women) in its day, it is to be supposed that 
the ancient finger-post took more or less interest in such 
things as chanced in its immediate vicinity. Thus, it is 
probable that it rightly defined why this particular long- 
legged human sighed so often, now with his gaze upon 
the broad disc of the moon, now upon a certain point of 
the road ahead, and was not in the least surprised to see 
Barnabas start forward, bareheaded, to meet her who 
came swift and light of foot ; to see her pause before him, 
quick-breathing, blushing, sighing, trembling; to see 
how glance met glance; to see him stoop to kiss the 
hand she gave him, and all — without a word. Sur- 
prised? not a bit of it, for to a really observant finger- 
post all humans (both he and she) are much alike at such 

" I began to fear you would n't come," said Barnabas, 
finding voice at last. 

" But to-night is — Barnaby Bright, and the prophecy 
must be fulfilled, sir. And — oh, how wonderful the moon 
is ! " Now, lifting her head to look at it, her hood must 
needs take occasion to slip back upon her shoulders, as if 
easier to reveal her loveliness, — the high beauty of her 

334 The Amateur Gentleman 

face, the smooth round column of her throat, and the shin- 
ing wonder of her hair. 

" Cleone — how beautiful you are ! " 

And here ensued another silence while Cleone gazed 
up at the moon, and Barnabas at Cleone. 

But the ancient finger-post (being indeed wonderfully 
knowing — for a finger-post) well understood the mean- 
ing of such silences, and was quite aware of the tremble 
of the strong fingers that still held hers, and why, in the 
shadow of her cloak, her bosom hurried so. Oh ! be sure 
the finger-post knew the meaning of it all, since humans* 
of every degree, are only men and women after all. 

" Cleone, when will you — marry me? " 

Now here my lady stole a quick glance at him, and 
immediately looked up at the moon again, because the eyes 
that could burn so fiercely could hold such ineffable tender- 
ness also. 

" You are very — impetuous, I think," she sighed. 

" But I — love you," said Barnabas, " not only for 
your beauty, but because you are Cleone, and there is 
no one else in the world like you. But, because I love 
you so much, it — it is very hard to tell you of it. If 
I could only put it into fine-sounding phrases — " 

" Don't ! " said my lady quickly, and laid a slender 
(though very imperious) finger upon his lips. 

" Why? " Barnabas inquired, very properly kissing the 
finger and holding it there. 

" Because I grow tired of fine phrases and empty com- 
pliments, and because, sir — " 

" Have you forgotten that my name is Barnabas? " 
he demanded, kissing the captive finger again, whereupon 
it struggled — though very feebly, to be sure. 

" And because, Barnabas, you would be breaking your 


" You must only tell me — that, when ' the sun is shin- 
ing, and friends are within call,' — have you forgotten 
your own words so soon? " 

Further Mention of a Finger- Post 335 

Now, as she spoke Barnabas beheld the dimple — that 
most elusive dimple, that came and went and came again, 
beside the scarlet lure of her mouth; therefore he drew 
her nearer until he could look, for a moment, into the 
depths of her eyes. But here, seeing the glowing intensity 
of his gaze, becoming aware of the strong, compelling arm 
about her, feeling the quiver of the hand that held her 
own, lo! in that instant my lady, with her sly bewitch- 
ments, her coquettish airs and graces, was gone, and in her 
place was the maid — quick-breathing, blushing, trem- 
bling, all in a moment. 

"Ah, no!" she pleaded, "Barnabas, no!" Then 
Barnabas sighed, and loosed his clasp — but behold ! the 
dimple was peeping at him again. And in that moment 
he caught her close, and thus, for the first time, their 
lips met. 

Oh, privileged finger-post to have witnessed that first 
kiss ! To have seen her start away and turn ; to have 
felt her glowing cheek pressed to thy hoary timbers; to 
have felt the sweet, quick tumult of her bosom! Oh, 
thrice happy finger-post ! To have seen young Barnabas, 
radiant-faced, and with all heaven in his eyes ! Oh, most 
fortunate of finger-posts to have seen and felt all this, and 
to have heard the rapture thrilling in his voice: 


" Oh! " she whispered, " why — why did you? V 

" Because I love you ! " 

" No other man ever dared to — " 

" Heaven be praised ! " 

" Upon — the mouth ! " she added, her face still hidden. 

" Then I have set my seal upon it." 

" And now, — am I — immaculate ? " 

" Oh — forgive me ! " 

" No ! " 

u Look at me." 

* No ! " 

* Are you angry ? " 
Yes, I — think I am, Barnabas, — oh, very ! " 


336 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Forgive me ! " said Barnabas again. 

" First," said my lady, throwing up her head, " am I 
— heartless and a — coquette? " 

" No, indeed, no ! Oh, Cleone, is it possible you could 
learn to — love me, in time? " 

" I — I don't know." 

" Someday, Cleone?" 

"I — I did n't come to answer — idle questions, sir," 
says my lady, suddenly demure. " It must be nearly half- 
past nine — I must go. I forgot to tell you — Mr. 
Chichester is coming to meet me to-night — " 

" To meet you? Where? " demanded Barnabas, fierce- 
eyed all at once. 

" Here, Barnabas. But don't look so — so murderous ! " 

" Chichester — here ! " 

" At a quarter to ten, Barnabas. That is why I must 
go at — half-past nine — Barnabas, stop ! Oh, Barnabas, 
you 're crushing me I Not again, sir, — I forbid you — 
please, Barnabas ! " 

So Barnabas loosed her, albeit regretfully, and stood 
watching while she dexterously twisted, and smoothed, and 
patted her shining hair into some semblance of order ; and 
while so doing, she berated him, on this wise: 

" Indeed, sir, but you 're horribly strong. And very 
hasty. And your hands are very large. And I fear you 
have a dreadful temper. And I know my hair is all any- 
how, — is n't it?" 

" It is beautiful ! " sighed Barnabas. 

" Mm ! You told me that in Annersley Wood, sir." 

" You have n't forgotten, then? " 

" Oh, no," answered Cleone, shaking her head, " but I 
would have you more original, you see, — so many men 
have told me that. Ah ! now you 're frowning again, and 
it 's nearly time for me to go, and I have n't had a chance 
to mention what I came for, which, of course, is all your 
fault, Barnabas. To-day, I received a letter from Ronald. 
He writes that he has been ill, but is better. And 
yet, I fear, he must be very weak still, for oh ! it 's 

Further Mention of a Finger-Post 337 

such poor, shaky writing. Was he very ill when you saw 

" No," answered Barnabas. 

"Here is the letter, — will you read it? You see, I 
have no one who will talk to me about poor Ronald, no 
one seems to have any pity for him, — not even my dear 

" But you will always have me, Cleone ! " 

" Always, Barnabas? " 

" Always." 

So Barnabas took Ronald Barrymaine's letter, and 
opening it, saw that it was indeed scrawled in characters 
so shaky as to be sometimes almost illegible; but, hold- 
ing it in the full light of the moon, he read as follows : 

" Dearest of Sisters, — I was unable to keep the ap- 
pointment I begged for in my last, owing to a sudden 
indisposition, and, though better now, I am still ailing. I 
fear my many misfortunes are rapidly undermining my 
health, and sometimes I sigh for Death and Oblivion. 
But, dearest Cleone, I forbid you to grieve for me, I am 
man enough, I hope, to endure my miseries uncomplain- 
ingly, as a man and a gentleman should. Chichester, with 
his unfailing kindness, has offered me an asylum at his 
country place near Headcorn, where I hope to regain 
something of my wonted health. But for Chichester I 
tremble to think what would have been my fate long 
before this. At Headcorn I shall at least be nearer you, 
my best of sisters, and it is my hope that you may be 
persuaded to steal away now and then, to spend an hour 
with two lonely bachelors, and cheer a brother's solitude. 
Ah, Cleone ! Chichester's devotion to you is touching, such 
patient adoration must in time meet with its reward. By 
your own confession you have nothing against him but 
the fact that he worships you too ardently, and this, most 
women would think a virtue. And remember, he is your 
luckless brother's only friend. This is the only man who 
has stood by me in adversity, the only man who can help 

338 The Amateur Gentleman 

me to retrieve the past, the only man a truly loving sister 
should honor with her regard. All women are more or 
less selfish. Oh, Cleone, be the exception and give my 
friend the answer he seeks, the answer he has sought of 
you already, the answer which to your despairing brother 
means more than you can ever guess, the answer whereby 
you can fulfil the promise you gave our dying mother to 

" your unfortunate brother, 

" Ronald Barrymaine." 

Now, as he finished reading, Barnabas frowned, tore 
the letter across in sudden fury, and looked up to find 
Cleone frowning also : 

" You have torn my letter ! " 

" Abominable ! " said Barnabas fiercely. 

" How dared you ? " 

" It is the letter of a coward and weakling ! " 

" My brother, sir ! " 

" Half-brother." 

" And you insult him ! " 

" He would sell you to a — " Barnabas choked- 

" Mr. Chichester is my brother's friend." 

" His enemy ! " 

" And poor Ronald is sick — " 

"With brandy!" 

" Oh — not that ! " she cried sharply, " not that ! " 

"Didn't you know?" 

" I only — dreaded it. His father — died of it. Oh, 
sir — oh, Barnabas ! there is no one else who will help him, 
— save him from — that ! You will try, won't you? " 

"Yes," said Barnabas, setting his jaw, "no one can 
help a man against his will, but I '11 try. And I ask you 
to remember that if I succeed or not, I shall never expect 
any recompense from you, never ! " 

" Unless, Barnabas — " said Cleone, softly. 

" Unless — oh, Cleone, unless you should — some day 
learn to — love me — just a little, Cleone? " 

Further Mention of a Finger-Post 339 

"Would — just a little, satisfy you?" 

" No," said Barnabas, " no, I want you all — all — all. 
Oh, Cleone, will you marry me? " 

" You are very persistent, sir, and I must go." 

" Not yet, — pray not yet." 

" Please, Barnabas. I would not care to see Mr. Chi- 
chester — to-night." 

" No," sighed Barnabas, " you must go. But first, — 
will you — ? " 

" Not again, Barnabas ! " And she gave him her two 
hands. So he stopped and kissed them instead. Then she 
turned and left him standing bareheaded under the finger- 
post. But when she had gone but a little way she paused 
and spoke to him over her shoulder: 

" Will you — write to me — sometimes ? " 

"Oh — may I?" 

" Please, Barnabas, — to tell me of — my brother." 

" And when can I see you again ? " 

" Ah ! who can tell ? " she answered. And so, smiling 
a little, blushing a little, she hastened away. 

Now, when she was gone, Barnabas stooped, very rever- 
ently, and pressed his lips to the ancient finger-post, on 
that spot where her head had rested, and sighed, and 
turned towards his great, black horse. 

But, even as he did so, he heard again that soft sound 
that was like the faint jingle of spurs, the leaves of 
the hedge rustled, and out into the moonlight stepped a 
tall figure, wild of aspect, bareheaded and bare of foot ; 
one who wore his coat wrong side out, and who, laying 
his hand upon his bosom, bowed in stately fashion, once 
to the moon and once to him. 

" Oh, Barnaby Bright, Barnaby Bright, 
The moon 's awake, and shines all night! " 

" Do you remember, Barnaby Bright, how I foretold 
we should meet again — under an orbed moon ? Was I 
not right? She 's fair, Barnaby, and passing fair, and 
very proud, — but all good, beautiful women are proud, 

J4-0 The Amateur Gentleman 

and hard in the winning, — oh, I know ! Billy Button 
knows! My buttons jingled, so I turned my coat, though 
I 'm no turn-coat ; once a friend, always a friend. So I 
followed you, Barnaby Bright, I came to warn you of 
the shadow, — it grows blacker every day, — back there 
in the great city, waiting for you, Barnaby Bright, to 
smother you — to quench hope, and light, and life itself. 
But I shall be there, — and She. Aha ! She shall forget 
all things then — even her pride. Shadows have their 
uses, Barnaby, even the blackest. I came a long way — 
oh, I followed you. But poor Billy is never weary, the 
Wise Ones bear him up in their arms sometimes. So I 
followed you — and another, also, though he did n't know 
it. Oho ! would you see me conjure you a spirit from the 
leaves yonder, — ah ! but an evil spirit, this ! Shall I ? 
Watch now ! See, thus I set my feet ! Thus I lift my 
arms to the moon ! " 

So saying, the speaker flung up his long arms, and with 
his gaze fixed upon a certain part of the hedge, lifted his 
voice and spoke: 

" Oho, lurking spirit among the shadows ! Ho ! come 
forth, I summon 3 T e. The dew is thick amid the leaves, and 
dew is an evil thing for purple and fine linen. Oho, stand 
forth, I bid ye." 

There followed a moment's utter silence, then — an- 
other rustle amid the leaves, and Mr. Chichester stepped 
out from the shadows. 

" Ah, sir," said Barnabas, consulting his watch, " you 
are just twenty-three minutes before your time. Never- 
theless you are, I think, too late." 

Mr. Chichester glanced at Barnabas from head to foot,, 
and, observing his smile, Barnabas clenched his fists. 

" Too late, sir? " repeated Mr. Chichester softly, shak- 
ing his head, " no, — indeed I think not. Howbeit there 
are times and occasions when solitude appeals to me ; this 
is one. Pray, therefore, be good enough to — go, and 
— ah — take your barefooted friend with you." 

" First, sir," said Barnabas, bowing with aggressive 

Further Mention of a Finger-Post 341 

politeness, " first, I humbly beg leave to speak with you, 
to — * 

" Sir," said Mr. Chichester, gently tapping a nettle out 
of existence with his cane, " sir, I have no desire for 
your speeches, the} 7 , like yourself, I find a little trying, 
and vastly uninteresting. I prefer to stay here and 
meditate a while. I bid you good night, sir, a pleasant 

" None the less, sir," said Barnabas, beginning to smile, 
" I fear I must inflict myself upon you a moment longer* 
to warn you that I — " 

" To warn me ? Again ? Oh, sir, I grow weary of your 
warnings, I do indeed ! Pray go away and warn somebody 
else. Pray go, and let me stare upon the moon and twiddle 
my thumbs until — " 

" If it is the Lady Cleone you wait for, she is gone ! " 
said Youth, quick and impetuous. 

" Ah ! " sighed Mr. Chichester, viewing Barnabas 
through narrowed eyes, " gone, you say? But then, 
young sir," here he gently poked a dock-leaf into ruin, 
" but then, Cleone is one of your tempting, warm, deli- 
cious creatures ! Cleone is a skilled coquette to whom all 
men are — men. To-night it is — you, to-morrow — " 
Mr. Chichester's right hand vanished into his bosom as 
Barnabas strode forward, but, on the instant, Billy 
Button was between them. 

" Stay, my Lord ! " he cried, " look upon this face, — 
'tis the face of my friend Barnaby Bright, but, my Lord, 
it is also the face of Joan's son. You 've heard tell of 
Joan, poor Joan who was unhappy, and ran away, and 
got lost, — you'll mind Joan Beverley?" Now, in the 
pause that followed, as Mr. Chichester gazed at Barnabas, 
his narrowed eyes opened, little by little, his compressed 
lips grew slowly loose, and the tasselled cane slipped from 
his fingers, and lay all neglected. 

" Sir," said Barnabas at last, " this is what I would 
have told you. I am the lawful son of Joan Beverley, 
whose maiden name I took for — a purpose. I have but 

34 2 The Amateur Gentleman 

to prove my claim and I can dispossess you of the inheri- 
tance you hold, which is mine by right. But, sir, I have 
enough for my needs, and I am, therefore, prepared to 
forego my just claim — on a condition." 

Mr. Chichester neither moved nor spoke. 

" My condition," Barnabas continued, " is this. That, 
from this hour, you loose whatever hold you have upon 
Honald Barrymaine, — that you have no further com- 
munication with him, either by word or letter. Failing 
this, I institute proceedings at once, and will dispossess 
you as soon as may be. Sir, you have heard my condition, 
it is for you to answer." 

But, as he ended, Billy Button pointed a shaking finger 
downwards at the grass midway between them, and spoke : 

" Look ! " he whispered, " look ! Do you not see it — 
bubbling so dark, — down there among the grass? Ah! 
it reaches your feet, Barnaby Bright. But — look yon- 
der ! it rises to his heart, — look ! " and with a sudden, wild 
gesture, he pointed to Chichester's rigid figure. " Blood ! " 
he cried, " blood ! — cover it up ! Oh, hide it — hide it ! " 
Then, turning about, he sped away, his muffled buttons 
jingling faintly as he went, and so was presently gone. 

Then Barnabas loosed his horse and mounted, and, with 
never a glance nor word to the silent figure beneath the 
finger-post, galloped away London-wards. 

Now, had it been possible for a worn and decrepit 
iinger-post to be endued with the faculty of motion 
(which, in itself, is a ridiculous thought, of course), it is 
probable that this particular one would have torn itself 
up bodily, and hastened desperately after Barnabas to 
point him away — away, east or west, or north or south, 
- — anywhere, so long as it was far enough from him who 
stood so very still, and who stared with such eyes so long 
upon the moon, with his right hand still hidden in his 
Ireast, while the vivid mark glowed, and glowed upon the 
pallor of his cheek. 



The fifteenth of July was approaching, and the Polite 
World, the World of Fashion, was stirred to its politest 
depths. In the clubs speculation was rife, the hourly 
condition of horses and riders was discussed gravely and 
at length, while betting-books fluttered everywhere. In 
crowded drawing-rooms and dainty boudoirs, love and 
horse-flesh went together, and everywhere was a pleasur- 
able uncertainty, since there were known to be at least 
four competitors whose chances were practically equal. 
Therefore the Polite World, gravely busied with its cards 
or embroidery, and at the same time striving mentally to 
compute the exact percentage of these chances, was occa- 
sionally known to revoke, or prick its dainty finger. 

Even that other and greater world, which is neither 
fashionable nor polite, — being too busy gaining the 
wherewithal to exist, — even in fetid lanes and teeming 
streets, in dingy offices and dingier places still, the same 
excitement prevailed; busy men forgot their business 
awhile; crouching clerks straightened their stooping 
backs, became for the nonce fabulously rich, and airily 
bet each other vast sums that Carnaby's " Clasher " would 
do it in a canter, that Viscount Devenham's " Moonraker " 
would have it in a walk-over, that the Marquis of Jer- 
ningham's " Clinker " would leave the field nowhere, and 
that Captain Slingsby's " Rascal " would run away 
with it. 

Yes, indeed, all the world was agog, rich and poor, 
high and low. Any barefooted young rascal scamper- 

344 The Amateur Gentleman 

ing along the kennel could have named you the four 
likely winners in a breath, and would willingly have 
bet his ragged shirt upon his choice, had there been 
any takers. 

Thus, then, the perspicacious waiter at the " George " 
who, it will be remembered, on his own avowal usually 
kept his eyes and ears open, and could, therefore, see as 
far through a brick wall as most, knew at once that the 
tall young gentleman in the violet coat with silver buttons, 
the buckled hat and glossy Hessians, whose sprigged 
waistcoat and tortuous cravat were wonders among their 
kind, was none other than a certain Mr. Beverley, who 
had succeeded in entering his horse at the last possible 
moment, and who, though an outsider with not the re- 
motest chance of winning, was, nevertheless, something of 
a buck and dandy, the friend of a Marquis and Viscount, 
and hence worthy of all respect. Therefore the perspica- 
cious waiter at the " George " viewed Barnabas with the 
eye of reverence, his back was subservient, and his napkin 
eloquent of eager service, also he bowed as frequently and 
humbly as such expensive and elegant attire merited; for 
the waiter at the "George" had as just and reverent a 
regard for fine clothes as any fine gentleman in the Fash- 
ionable World. 

" A chair, sir ! " Here a flick of the officious napkin. 
"Now shall we say a chop, sir?" Here a smiling obei- 
sance. " Or shall we make it a steak, sir — cut thick, sir 
— medium done, and with — " 

" No, thank you," said Barnabas, laying aside hat and 

" No, sir? Very good, sir! Certainly not, sir! A cut 
o' b'iled beef might suit, p'raps, — with carrots? or shall 
we say — " 

" Neither, thank you, but you can bring me a bottle of 
Burgundy and the Gazette." 

" Burgundy, sir — Gazette ? Certainly, sir — " 

" And — I 'm expecting a gentleman here of the name 
cf Smivvle — " 

A Bet and a Warning 345 

" Certainly, sir ! Burgundy, Gazette, Gent name of 
Sniffle, yessir! Hanythink else, sir?" 

" Yes, I should like pens and ink and paper." 
" Yessir — himmediately, sir." Hereupon, and with 
many and divers bows and flicks of the napkin, the waiter 
proceeded to set out the articles in question, which done, 
he flicked himself out of the room. But he was back again 
almost immediately, and had uncorked the bottle and 
filled the glass with a flourish, a dexterity, a promptness, 
accorded only to garments of the very best and most ultra- 
fashionable cut. Then, with a bow that took in bestarched 
cravat, betasselled Hessians, and all garments between, the 
waiter fluttered away. So, in a while, Barnabas took pen 
and paper, and began the following letter: 

" My Dear Father and Natty Beee, — Since writing 
my last letter to you, I have bought a house near St. 
James's, and set up an establishment second to none. I 
will confess that I find myself liks to be overawed by my 
retinue of servants, and their grave and decorous polite- 
ness ; I also admit that dinner is an ordeal of courses, — 
each of which, I find, requires a different method of attack ; 
for indeed, in the Polite World, it seems that eating is 
cherished as one of its most important functions, hence, 
dining is an art whereof the proper manipulation of the 
necessary tools is an exact science. However, by treating 
my servants with a dignified disregard, and by dint of 
using my eyes while at table, I have committed no great 
solecism so far, I trust, and am rapidly gaining in knowl- 
edge and confidence. 

" I am happy to tell you that I have the good fortune 
to be entered for the Gentlemen's Steeplechase, a most 
exclusive affair, which is to be brought off at Eltham on 
the fifteenth of next month. From all accounts it will 
be a punishing Race, with plenty of rough going, — 
plough, fallow, hedge and ditch, vails, stake-fences and 
water. The walls and water-jump are, I hear, the worst. 

"Now, although I shall be riding 'against some of the 

346 The Amateur Gentleman 

best horsemen in England, 'still I venture to think I can 
win, and this for three reasons. First, because I intend 
to try to the uttermost — with hand and heel and head. 
Secondly, because I have bought a horse — such a horse 
as I have only dreamed of ever possessing, — all fire and 
courage, with a long powerful action — Oh, Natty Bell, 
if you could but see him! Rising six, he is, with tushes 
well through, — even your keen eye could find no flaw in 
him, though he is, perhaps, a shade long in the cannon. 
And, thirdly, I am hopeful to win because I was taught 
horse-craft by that best, wisest of riders, Natty Bell. 
Very often, I remember, you have told me, Natty Bell, 
that races are won more by judgment of the rider than by 
the speed of the horse, nor shall I forget this. Thus 
then, sure of my horse, sure of myself, and that kind 
Destiny which has brought me successfully thus far, I 
shall ride light-hearted and confident. 

" Yet, my dears, should I win or lose, I would have you 
remember me always as 

" Your dutiful, loving 

" Barnabas." 

Now, as Barnabas laid down his pen, he became aware 
of voices and loud laughter from the adj acent coffee- 
room, and was proceeding to fold and seal his letter when 
he started and raised his head, roused by the mention of 
his own name spoken in soft, deliberate tones that he 
instantly recognized: 

" Ah, so you have met this Mr. Beverley? " 

" Yes," drawled another, deeper voice, " the Duchess 
introduced him to me. Who the deuce is he, Chi- 
chester? " 

" My dear Carnaby, pray ask Devenham, or Jerning- 
ham, he 's their protege — not mine." 

" Sir," broke in the Viscount's voice, speaking at its 
very iciest, — " Mr. Beverley is — my friend ! " 

" And mine also, I trust ! " thus the Marquis. 

" Exactly ! " re j oined Mr. Chichester's smooth tones, 

A Bet and a Warning 347 

" and, consequently, despite his mysterious origin, he is 
permitted to ride in the Steeplechase among the very 
elite of the sporting world — " 

" And why not, b'gad? " Captain Slingsby's voice 
sounded louder and gruffer than usual, " I '11 warrant him 
a true-blue, — sportsman every inch, and damme ! one of 
the right sort too, — sit a horse with any man, — bird at 
a fence, and ready to give or take odds on his chances, I '11 
swear — " 

" Now really," Mr. Chichester's tone was softer than 
ever, " he would seem to be a general favorite here. Still, 
it would, at least, be — interesting to know exactly who 
and what he is." 

" Yes," Sir Mortimer's voice chimed in, " and only 
right in justice to ourselves. Seems to me, now I come 
to think of it, I 've seen him somewhere or other, before, 
we were introduced, — be shot if I know where, though." 

" In the — country, perhaps? " the Viscount suggested. 

" Like as not," returned Sir Mortimer carelessly. 
" But, as Chichester says, it is devilish irregular to allow 
any Tom, Dick, or Harry to enter for such a race as this. 
If, as Sling suggests, the fellow is willing to back him- 
self, it would, at least, be well to know that he could cover 
his bets." 

" Sir Mortimer ! " the Viscount's tone was colder and 
sharper than before, " you will permit me, in the first 
place, to tell you that his name is neither Tom, nor Dick, 
nor Harry. And in the second place, I would remind 
you that the gentleman honors me with his friendship. 
And in the third place, that I suffer no one to cast dis- 
credit upon my friends. D' you take me, Sir Mortimer? " 
There followed a moment of utter stillness, then the sud- 
den scrape and shuffle of feet, and thereafter Carnaby's 
voice, a little raised and wholly incredulous : 

" What, Viscount, — d' you mean to take this fellow's 
part — against me ? " 

" Most certainly, if need be." 

But here, before Sir Mortimer could reply, all five 

348 The Amateur Gentleman 

started and turned as the door opened and Barnabas ap- 
peared on the threshold. 

" Viscount," said he, " for that I thank you most sin- 
cerely, most deeply. But, indeed, it will not be necessary, 
seeing I am here to do it for myself, and to answer such 
questions as I think — proper." 

" Ah, Mr. — Beverley ! " drawled Sir Mortimer, seat- 
ing himself on the table and crossing his legs, " you come 
pat, and since you are here, I desire a word with you." 

" As many as you wish, sir," answered Barnabas, and 
he looked very youthful as he bowed his curly head. 

" It would seem, Mr. Beverley, that you are some- 
thing of a mystery, and I, for one, don't like mysteries. 
Then it has been suggested that you and I have met be- 
fore our introduction, and, egad! now I come to look 
at you more attentively, your face does seem familiar, 
and I am curious to know who you may happen to be? " 

" Sir," said Barnabas, looking more youthful than ever, 
" such rare condescension, such lively interest in my con- 
cerns, touches me — touches me deeply," and he bowed, 
lower than before. 

" Suppose, sir," retorted Sir Mortimer, his cheek flush- 
ing a little, " suppose you answer my question, and tell 
me plainly who and what you are ? " and he stared at 
Barnabas, swinging his leg to and fro as he awaited his 

" Sir," said Barnabas, " I humbly beg leave to remark, 
that as to who I am can concern only my — friends. As 
to what I am concerns only my Maker and myself — " 

" Oh, vastly fine," nodded Sir Mortimer, " but that 's 
no answer." 

" And yet I greatly fear it must suffice — for you, sir," 
sighed Barnabas. Sir Mortimer's swinging foot grew still, 
and he frowned suddenly. 

" Now look you, sir," said he slowly, and with a menace 
in his eyes, " when I trouble to ask a question, I expect 
an answer — " 

" Alas, sir, — even your expectations may occasionally 

A Bet and a Warning 349 

be disappointed," said Barnabas, beginning to smile ag- 
gressively. " But, as to my resources, I do not lack for 
money, and am ready, here and now, to lay you, or any 
one else, a thousand guineas that I shall be one of the first 
three to pass the winning-post on the fifteenth." 

Sir Mortimer's frown grew more ominous, the flush 
deepened in his cheeks, and his powerful right hand 
clenched itself, then he laughed. 

" Egad! you have plenty of assurance, sir. It is just 
possible that you may have ridden — now and then?" 

" Sufficiently to know one end of a horse from the other, 
sir," retorted Barnabas, his smile rather grim. 

" And you are willing to bet a thousand guineas that 
you ride third among all the best riders in the three king- 
doms, are you? " 

" No, sir," said Barnabas, shaking his head, " the bet 
was a rash one, — I humbly beg leave to withdraw it. 
Instead, I will bet five thousand guineas that I pass the 
winning-post before you do, Sir Mortimer." 

Carnaby's smile vanished, and he stared up at calm- 
eyed Barnabas in open-mouthed astonishment. 

" You 're not mad, are you? " he demanded at last, his 
red under-lip curling. 

" Sir," said Barnabas, taking out his memorandum, " it 
is now your turn to answer. Do you take my bet? " 

"Take it!" cried Sir Mortimer fiercely, "yes! I'll 
double it — make it ten thousand guineas, sir ! " 

" Fifteen if you wish," said Barnabas, his pencil poised. 
No, by God ! but I '11 add another five and make it 
an even twenty thousand ! " 

" May I suggest you double instead, and make it 
thirty? " inquired Barnabas. 

" Ha ! — may I venture to ask how much higher you 
are prepared to go ? " 

" Why, sir," said Barnabas thoughtfully, " I have some 
odd six hundred thousand pounds, and I am prepared to 
risk — a half." 

" Vastly fae.. *ir ! " Wigh^d ^ir Mortimer, " why not 

350 The Amateur Gentleman 

put it at a round million and have done with it. No, egad \ 
I want something more than your word — " 

" You might inquire of my bankers," Barnabas sug- 

" Twenty thousand will suit me very well, sir ! " nodded 
Sir Mortimer. 

" Then you take me at that figure, Sir Mortimer? " 

" Yes, I bet you twenty thousand guineas that you do 
not pass the winning-post ahead of me ! And what 's 
more, — non-starters to forfeit their money ! Oh, egad, 
— I '11 take you!" 

" And I also," said Mr. Chichester, opening his betting- 
book. " Gentlemen, you are all witnesses of the bet. 
Come, Viscount, — Slingsby, — here 's good money going 
a-begging — why not gather it in — eh, Marquis ? " But 
the trio sat very silent, so that the scratch of Sir Mor- 
timer's pencil could be plainly heard as he duly registered 
his bet, which done, he turned his attention to Barnabas 
again, looking him up and down with his bold, black eyes. 

" Hum ! " said he musingly, " it sticks in my mind that 
I have seen you — somewhere or other, before we met at 
Sir George Annersley's. Perhaps you will tell me where? " 

" With pleasure, sir," answered Barnabas, putting away 
his memorandum book, " it was in Annersley Wood, rather 
early in the morning. And you wore — " 

" Annersley — Wood ! " Sir Mortimer's careless, 
lounging air vanished, and he stared at Barnabas with 
dilating eyes. 

" And you wore, I remember, a bottle-green coat, which 
I had the misfortune to tear, sir." 

And here there fell a silence, once more, but ominous 
now, and full of menace; a pregnant stillness, wherein 
the A 7 iscount sat leaned forward, his hands clutching his 
chair-arms, his gaze fixed upon Barnabas ; as for the 
Marquis, he had taken out his snuff-box and, in his pre- 
occupation, came very near inhaling a pinch; while Cap- 
tain Slingsby sat open-mouthed. Then, all at once, Sir 
Mortimer was on his feet and had caught up a heavy 

A Bet and a Warning 351 

riding-whip, and thus he and Barnabas fronted each other, 
eye to eye, — each utterly still, yet very much on the alert. 

But now upon this tense silence came the soft, smooth 
tones of Mr. Chichester: 

" Pray, Mr. Beverley, may I speak a word with you — 
in private? " 

" If the company will excuse us," Barnabas replied ; 
whereupon Mr. Chichester rose and led the way into the 
adjoining room, and, closing the door, took a folded letter 
from his pocket. 

" Sir," said he, " I would remind you that the last time 
we met, you warned me, — indeed you have a weakness 
for warning people, it seems, — you also threatened me 
that unless I agreed to — certain conditions, you would 
dispossess me of my inheritance — " 

" And I repeat it," said Barnabas. 

" Oh, sir, save your breath and listen," smiled Mr. 
Chichester, " for let me tell you, threats beget threats, 
and warnings, warnings ! Here is one, which I think — 
yes, which I venture to think you will heed ! " So saying, 
he unfolded the letter and laid it upon the table. Bar- 
nabas glanced at it, hesitated, then stooping, read as 
follows : 

" Dear Lady Ceeone, — I write this to warn you that 
the person calling himself Mr. Beverley, and posing as a 
gentleman of wealth and breeding, is, in reality, nothing 
better than a rich vulgarian, one Barnabas Barty, son of 
a country inn-keeper. The truth of which shall be proved 
to your complete satisfaction whenever you will, by 
" Yours always humbly to command, 

" Wiefred Chichester." 

Now when he had finished reading, Barnabas sank 
down into a chair, and, leaning his elbows upon the table, 
hid his face between his hands ; seeing which, Mr. Chi- 
chester laughed softly, and taking up the letter, turned 
to the door. 

352 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Sir," said he, " as I mentioned before, threats beget 
threats. Now, — you move, and I move. I tell you, if 
you presume to interfere with me again in any way, — or 
with my future plans in any way, then, in that same hour, 
Cleone shall know you for the impudent impostor you 
are ! " So Mr. Chichester laughed again, and laid his 
hand upon the latch of the door. But Barnabas sat rigid, 
and did not move or lift his heavy head even when the 
door opened and closed, and he knew he was alone. 

Very still he sat there, crouched above the table, his 
face hidden in his hands, until he was roused by a cough, 
the most perfectly discreet and gentleman-like cough in 
the world, such a cough, indeed, as only a born waiter 
-could emit. 

" Sir," inquired the waiter, his napkin in a greater 
flutter than ever, as Barnabas looked up, " sir, — is there 
hany think you 're wanting, sir? " 

" Yes," said Barnabas, heavily, " you can — give me — =■ 
my hat ! " 



The Gentleman-in-Powder, aware of a knocking, yawned, 
laid aside the " Gazette," and getting upon his legs (which, 
like all things truly dignified, were never given to hurry), 
they, in due season, brought him to the door, albeit they 
shook with indignant quiverings at the increasing thun- 
der of each repeated summons. Therefore the Gentleman- 
in-Powder, with his hand upon the latch, having paused 
long enough to vindicate and compose his legs, pro- 
ceeded to open the portal of Number Five, St. James's 
Square; but, observing the person of the importunate 
knocker, with that classifying and discriminating eye 
peculiar to footmen, immediately frowned and shook his 

" The hother door, me man, — marked 6 tradesmen,' " 
said he, the angle of his nose a little more supercilious 
than usual, " and ring only, if you please." Having said 
which, he shut the door again ; that is to say, — very 
nearly, for strive as he might, his efforts were unavailing, 
by reason of a round and somewhat battered object which, 
from its general conformation, he took to be the end of 
a formidable bludgeon or staff. But, applying his eye to 
the aperture, he saw that this very obtrusive object was 
nothing more or less than a leg (that is to say, a wooden 
one), which was attached to the person of a burly, broad- 
shouldered, fiercely bewhiskered man in clothes of navy- 
blue, a man whose hairy, good-natured visage was appro- 
priately shaded by a very shiny glazed hat. 

" Avast there ! " said this personage in deep, albeit 

354 The Amateur Gentleman 

jovial tones, "ease away there, my lad, — stand by and 
let old Timbertoes come aboard ! " 

But the Gentleman-in-Powder was not to be cajoled. 
He sniffed. 

" The hother door, me good feller ! " he repeated, re- 
lentless but dignified, " and ring only, if you pi — " The 
word was frozen upon his horrified lip, for Timbertoes 
liad actually set his blue-clad shoulder to the door, and 
now, bending his brawny back, positively began to heave 
at it with might and main, cheering and encouraging him- 
self meanwhile with sundry nautical " yo ho's." And all 
this in broad daylight! In St. James's Square! 

Whereupon ensued the following colloquy: 

The Gentleman-in-Powder (pushing from within. 
Shocked and amazed). " Wot 's this? Stop it! Get out 
now, d' ye hear ! " 

Timbertoes (pushing from without. In high good 
humor). "With a ho, my hearties, and a merrily 
heave O ! " 

The Gentleman-in-Powder (struggling almost man- 
fully, though legs highly agitated) . "I — I '11 give you 
in c-charge ! I '11 — " 

Timbertoes (encouraging an imaginary crew). 
" Cheerily ! Cheerily ! heave yo ho ! " 

The Gentleman-in-Powder (losing ground rapidly. 
Condition of legs indescribable). " I never — see nothing 
— like this here! I'll — " 

Timbertoes (all shoulders, whiskers and pig-tail). 
" With a heave and a ho, and up she rises O ! " 

The Gentleman-in-Powder (extricating his ruffled 
dignity from between wall and door). " Oh, very good, — 
I '11 give you in charge for this, you — you feller ! Look 
at me coat ! I '11 send for a constable. I '11 — " 

Timbertoes. " Belay, my lad ! This here 's Number 
Tive, ain't it?" 

The Gentleman-in-Powder (glancing down appre- 
hensively at his quivering legs). "Yes, — and I'll — " 

Timbertoes. " Cap'n Beverley's craft, ain't it? " 

The Gentleman-in-Powder 355 

The Gentleman-in-Powder (re-adjusting his ruffled 
finery). "Mister Beverley occipies this here res-eye- 
dence ! " 

Timbertoes (nodding). "Mister Beverley, — oh, ah, 
for sure. Well, is 'e aboard? " 

The Gentleman-in-Powder (with lofty sarcasm). 
" No, 'e ain't ! Nor a stick, nor a stock, nor yet a chair, 
nor a table. And, wot 's more, 'e ain't one to trouble 
about the likes o' you, neether." 

Timbertoes. " Belay, my lad, and listen. I 'm Jerry 
Tucker, late Bo'sun in 'is Britannic Majesty's navy, — 
' Bully-Sawyer,' Seventy-four. D' ye get that? Well, now 
listen again. According to orders I hove anchor and bore 
up for London very early this morning, but being strange 
to these 'ere waters, was obleeged to haul my wind and 
stand off and on till I fell in with a pilot, d' ye see. But, 
though late, here I am all ship-shape and a-taunto, and 
with despatches safe and sound. Watch, now ! " Here- 
upon the Bo'sun removed the glazed hat, held it to his 
hairy ear, shook it, nodded, and from somewhere in it& 
interior took out and held up three letters. 

" D' ye see those, my lad? " he inquired. 

The Gentleman-in-Powder (haughtily). " I ain't 

Timbertoes. " Why then — you '11 know what they 
are, p'raps? " 

The Gentleman-in-Powder (witheringly ) . " Nor L 
ain't a fool, neether." 

Timbertoes (dubiously). "Ain't you, though?" 

The Gentleman-in-Powder (legs again noticeably^ 
agitated). " No, I ain't. I 've got all my faculties about 

Timbertoes ( shaking head incredulously) . " Ah ! but 
where do you stow 'em away? " 

The Gentleman-in-Powder (legs convulsed). "And 
— wot 's more, I 've got my proper amount o' limbs 
too ! " 

Timbertoes. " JLmibs ? If it 's legs you 're meaning, I 

356 The Amateur Gentleman 

should say as you 'd got more nor your fair share, — 
you 're all legs, you are ! Why, Lord ! you 're grow'd to 
legs so surprising, as I wonder they don't walk off with 
you, one o' these here dark nights, and — lose you ! " 

But at this juncture came Peterby, sedate, grave, soft 
of voice as became a major-domo and the pink of a gentle- 
man's gentleman, before whose quick bright eye the legs 
of the Gentleman-in-Powder grew, as it were, suddenly 
abashed, and to whom the Bo'sun, having made a leg, 
forthwith addressed himself. 

" Sarvent, sir — name o' Jerry Tucker, late Bo'sun, 
' Bully-Sawyer,' Seventy- four ; come aboard with de- 
spatches from his Honor Cap'n Chumly and my Lady 
Cleone Meredith. To see Mr. Barnabas Beverley, Es- 
quire. To give these here despatches into Mr. Beverley 
Esquire's own 'and. Them 's my orders, sir." 

" Certainly, Bo'sun," said Peterby ; and, to the 
Gentleman-in-Powder, his bow was impressive ; " pray 
step this way." 

So the Bo'sun, treading as softly as his wooden leg 
would allow, stumped after him upstairs and along a 
thickly carpeted corridor, to a certain curtained door upon 
which Peterby gently knocked, and thereafter opening, 
motioned the Bo'sun to enter. 

It was a small and exquisitely furnished, yet comfort- 
able room, whose luxurious appointments, — the rich 
hangings, the rugs upon the floor, the pictures adorning 
the walls, — one and all bore evidence to the rare taste, 
the fine judgment of this one-time poacher of rabbits, this 
quiet-voiced man with the quick, bright eyes, and the 
subtly humorous mouth. But, just now, John Peterby 
was utterly serious as he glanced across to where, bowed 
down across the writing-table, his head pillowed upon his 
arms, his whole attitude one of weary, hopeless dejection, 
sat Barnabas Beverley, Esquire. A pen was in his lax 
fingers, while upon the table and littering the floor were 
many sheets of paper, some half covered with close writing, 
some crumpled and torn, some again bearing little more 

The Gentleman-in-Powder 357 

than a name; but in each and every case the name was 
always the same. Thus, John Peterby, seeing this droop- 
ing, youthful figure, sighed and shook his head, and went 
out, closing the door behind him. 

"Is that you, John?" inquired Barnabas, with bowed 

" No, sir, axing your pardon, it be only me, Jerry 
Tucker, Bo'sun, — ' Bully-Sawyer,' Seventy — " 

" Bo'sun ! " With the word Barnabas was upon his feet. 
" Why, Bo'sun," he cried, wringing the sailor's hand, 
" how glad I am to see you ! " 

"Mr. Beverley, sir," began the Bo'sun, red-faced and 
diffident by reason of the warmth of his reception, " I 've 
come aboard with despatches, sir. I bring you a letter 
from his Honor the Cap'n, from 'er Grace the Duchess, 
and from Lady Cleone, God bless her ! " 

" A letter from — her ! " Then taking the letters in 
hands that were strangely unsteady, Barnabas crossed 
to the window, and breaking the seal of a certain one, read 

" Dear Mr. Barnabas (the c Beverley ' crossed out),— 
Her Grace, my dear god-mother, having bullied my poor 
Tyrant out of the house, and quarrelled with me until she 
is tired, has now fixed her mind upon you. She therefore 
orders her dutiful god-daughter to write you these, hoping 
that thereby you may be induced to yield yourself a will- 
ing slave to her caprices and come down here for a few 
days. Though the very dearest and best of women, my 
god-mother, as you may remember, possesses a tongue, 
therefore — be warned, sir ! My Tyrant at this precise 
moment sits in the 'round house,' whither he has retreated 
to solace his ruffled feelings with tobacco. So, I repeat, 
sir, be warned ! And yet, though indeed, 't is strange, 
and passing strange, she speaks of you often, and seems 
to hold you in her kind regard. But, for all that, do not 
be misled, sir ; for the Duchess is always the Duchess, — 
even to poor me. A while ago, she insisted on playing a 

358 The Amateur Gentleman 

game of chess ; as I write the pieces lie scattered on the 
floor. J shan't pick them up, — why should I? So you 
see her Grace is quite herself to-day. Nevertheless, should 
you determine to run the risk, you will, I think, find a 
welcome awaiting you from, 

" Yours, dear sir, 

" Cleone Meredith. 

" P.S. — The Bo'sun assures me the moon will last an- 
other week." 

This Postscript Master Barnabas must needs read 
three times over, and then, quick and furtive, press the 
letter to his lips ere he thrust it into his bosom, and 
opened and read the Captain's: 

"The Gables, 

" Hawkhurst. 
" Written in the Round-house, 
"June 29, 18—. 

" My Dear Beverleigh, — How is Fashion and the 
Modish World? as trivial as usual, I '11 warrant me. The 
latest sensation, I believe, is Cossack Trousers, — have 
you tried 'em yet? But to come to my mutton, as the 
Mounseers say. 

" The Duchess of Camberhurst, having honored my 
house with her presence — and consequently set it in an 
uproar, I am constantly running foul of her, though 
more often she is falling aboard of me. To put it plainly, 
what with cross-currents, head-seas, and shifting winds 
that come down suddenly and blow great guns from every 
point of the compass, I am continually finding myself 
taken all a-back, as it were, and since it is quite impossible 
to bring to and ride it out, am consequently forced to go 
about and run for it, and continually pooped, even then, 
— for a woman's tongue is, I 'm sure, worse than any fol- 
lowing sea. 

" Hence, my sweet Clo, with her unfailing solicitude 
for me, having observed me flying signals of distress, has 
contrived to put it into my head that your presence might 

The Gentleman-in-Powder 359 

have a calming effect. Therefore, my dear boy, if you 
can manage to cast off the grapples of the Polite World 
for a few days, to run down here and shelter a battered 
old hulk under your lee, I shall be proud to have you as 
my guest. 

" Yours faithfully to serve, 

" John Chumly. 

" P.S. — Pray bring your valet ; you will need him, her 
Grace insists on dressing for dinner. Likewise my Trafal- 
gar coat begins to need skilled patching, here and there; 
it is getting beyond the Bo'sun." 

Here again Barnabas must needs pause to read over 
certain of the Captain's scrawling characters, and a new 
light was in his eyes as he broke the seal of her Grace's 

" My Dear Mr. Beverley, — The country down here, 
though delightfully Arcadian and quite idyllic (hayricks 
are so romantic, and I always adored cows — in pictures), 
is dreadfully quiet, and I freely confess that I generally 
prefer a man to a hop-pole (though I do wear a wig), and 
the voice of a man to the babble of brooks, or the trill of 
a skylark, — though I protest, I would n't be without 
them (I mean the larks) for the world, — they make me 
long for London so. 

" Then again, the Captain (though a truly dear soul, 
and the most gallant of hosts) treats me very much as 
though I were a ship, and, beside, he is so dreadfully 

" As for Cleone, dear bird, she yawns until my own 
eyes water (though, indeed, she has very pretty teeth), 
and, on the whole, is very dutiful and quarrels with me 
whenever I wish. 'T is quite true she cannot play chess ; 
she also, constantly, revokes at Whist, and is quite as 
bad-tempered over it as I am. Cards, I fear, are alto- 
gether beyond her at present, — she is young. Of course 
time may change this, but I have grave doubts. In this 

360 The Amateur Gentleman 

deplorable situation I turn to you, dear Mr. Beverley 
(Cleone knew your address, it seems), and write these 
hasty lines to entreat, — nay, to command you to come 
and cheer our solitude. Cleone has a new gown she is 
dying to wear, and I have much that you must patiently 
listen to, so that I may truly subscribe myself 

" Your grateful friend, 

" Fanny Camberhurst. 

" P.S. — I have seen the finger-post on the London 

And now, having made an end of reading, Barnabas 
sighed and smiled, and squared his stooping shoulders, 
and threw up his curly head, and turning, found the 
Bo'sun still standing, hat in fist, lost in contemplation of 
the gilded ceiling. Hereupon Barnabas caught his hand, 
and shook it again, and laughed for very happiness. 

" Bo'sun, how can I thank you ! " said he, " these letters 
have given me new hope — new life ! and — and here I 
leave you to stand, dolt that I am ! And with nothing to 
drink, careless fool that I am. Sit down, man, sit down 
— what will you take, wine? brandy? " 

" Mr. Beverley, sir," replied the Bo'sun diffidently, 
accepting the chair that Barnabas dragged forward, 
" you 're very kind, sir,^ but if I might make so bold, — 
a glass of ale, sir — ? " 

" Ale ! " cried Barnabas. " A barrel if you wish ! " 
and he tugged at the bell, at whose imperious summons 
the Gentleman-in-Powder appearing with leg-quivering 
promptitude, Barnabas forthwith demanded " Ale, — the 
best, and plenty of it! And pray ask Mr. Peterby to 
come here at once ! " he added. 

" Sir," said the Bo'sun as the door closed, " you '11 be 
for steering a course for Hawkhurst, p'r'aps ? " 

" We shall start almost immediately," said Barnabas, 
busily collecting those scattered sheets of paper that 
littered floor and table; thus he was wholly unaware of 
the look that clouded the sailor's honest visage. 

The Gentleman-in-Powder 361 

" Sir," said the Bo'sun, pegging thoughtfully at a rose 
in the carpet with his wooden leg, " by your good leave, 
I 'd like to ax 'ee a question." 

"Certainly, Bo'sun, what is it?" inquired Barnabas, 
looking up from the destruction of the many attempts of 
his first letter to Cleone. 

" Mr. Beverley, sir," said the Bo'sun, pegging away 
at the carpet as he spoke, " is it — meaning no offence, 
and axing your pardon, — but are you hauling your wind 
and standing away for Hawkhurst so prompt on account 
o' my Lady Cleone? " 

" Yes, Bo'sun, on account of our Lady Cleone." 

" Why, then, sir," said the Bo'sun, fixing his eyes 
on the ceiling again, " by your leave — but, — why, 

" Because, Bo'sun, you and I have this in common, that 
we both — love her." 

Here the Bo'sun dropped his glazed hat, and picking 
it up, sat turning it this way and that, in his big, brown 

" Why, then, sir," said he, looking up at Barnabas sud- 
denly, " what of Master Horatio, his Lordship ? " 

" Why, Bo'sun, I told him about it weeks ago. I had 
to. You see, he honors me with his friendship." 

The Bo'sun nodded, and broke into his slow smile : 

" Ah, that alters things, sir," said he. " As for loving 
my lady — why, who could help it? " 

" Who, indeed, Bo'sun ! " 

" Though I 'd beg to remind you, sir, as orders is orders, 
and consequently she 's bound to marry 'is Lordship — 
some day — " 

" Or — * become a mutineer ! " said Barnabas, as the 
door opened to admit Peterby, who (to the horror of the 
Gentleman-in-Powder, and despite his mutely protesting 
legs), actually brought in the ale himself; yet, as he set 
it before the Bo'sun, his sharp eyes were quick to notice 
his young master's changed air, and brightened as if in 

362 The Amateur Gentleman 

" I want you, John, to know my good friend Bo'sun 
Jerry," said Barnabas, " a Trafalgar man — " 

" ' Bully-Sawyer,' Seventy-four ! " added the Bo'sun, 
rising and extending his huge hand. 

" We are all going to Hawkhurst, at once, John," con- 
tinued Barnabas, " so pack up whatever you think neces- 
sary — a couple of valises will do, and tell Martin I '11 
have the phaeton, — it 's roomier ; and I '11 drive the bays. 
And hurry things, will you, John? " 

So John Peterby bowed, solemn and sedate as ever, and 
went upon his errand. But it is to be remarked that as he 
hastened downstairs, his lips had taken on their humorous 
curve, and the twinkle was back in his eyes ; also he nodded 
his head, as who would say: 

" I thought so ! The Lady Cleone Meredith, eh? 
Well, — the sooner the better ! " 

Thus the Bo'sun had barely finished his ale, when the 
Gentleman-in-Powder appeared to say the phaeton was at 
the door. 

And a fine, dashing turn-out it was, too, with its yellow 
wheels, its gleaming harness, and the handsome thorough- 
breds pawing impatient hoofs. 

Then, the Bo'sun having duly ensconced himself, with 
Peterby in the rumble^ as calm and expressionless as the 
three leather valises under the seat, Barnabas sprang in, 
caught up the reins, nodded to Martin the gray-haired 
head groom, and giving the bays their heads, they were 
off and away for Hawkhurst and the Lady Cleone Mere- 
dith, whirling round corners and threading their way 
through traffic at a speed that caused the Bo'sun to clutch 
the seat with one hand, and the glazed hat with the other, 
and to remark in his diffident way that: 

" These here wheeled craft might suit some, but for 
comfort and safety give me an eight-oared galley ! " 


how barnabas sought counsel of the duchess 



" Do you know the Duchess of fcamberhurst well? " 

" Know her, sir? " repeated the Bo'sun, giving a dubious 
pull at his starboard whisker ; " why, Mr. Beverley, sir, 
there 's two things as I knows on, as no man never did 
know on, nor never will know on, — and one on 'em 's a 
ship and t' other 's a woman." 

" But do you know her well enough to like and — 
trust? " 

" Why, Mr. Beverley, sir, since you ax me, I '11 tell 
you — plain and to the p'int. We '11 take 'er Grace the 
Duchess and say, clap her helm a-lee to tack up ag'in a 
beam wind, a wind, mind you, as ain't strong enough to 
lift her pennant, — and yet she '11 fall off and miss her 
stays, d' ye see, or get took a-back and yaw to port or 
starboard, though, if you ax me why or wherefore, I '11 
tell you as how, — her being a woman and me only a man, 
— I don't know. Then, again, on the con-trary, let it blow 
up foul — a roaring hurricane say, wi' the seas running 
high, ah! wi' the scud flying over her top-s'l yard, and 
she '11 rise to it like a bird, answer to a spoke, and come 
up into the wind as sweet as ever you see. The Duchess 
ain't no fair-weather craft, I '11 allow, but in 'owling, rag- 
ing tempest she 's staunch, sir, — ah, that she is, — from 
truck to keelson ! And there y' are, Mr. Beverley, sir ! " 

" Do you mean," inquired Barnabas, puzzled of look, 
" that she is to be depended on — in an emergency? " 

" Ay, sir — that she is ! " 

3 6 4 

The Amateur Gentleman 

" Ah ! " said Barnabas, nodding, " I 'm glad to know 
that, Bo'sun, — very glad." And here he became thought- 
ful all at once. Yet after a while he spoke again, this time 
to Peterby. 

" You are very silent, John." 

" I am — your valet, sir i " 

"Then, oh! man," exclaimed Barnabas, touching up 
the galloping bays quite unnecessarily, " oh, man — for- 
get it a while ! Here we sit — three men together, with 
London miles behind us, and the Fashionable World 
further still. Here we .sit, three men, with no difference 
between us, except that the Bo'sun has fought and bled 
for this England of ours, you have travelled and seen 
much of the world, and I, being the youngest, have done 
neither the one nor the other, and very little else — as 
yet. So, John, — be yourself ; talk, John, talk ! " 

Now hereupon John Peterby's grave dignity relaxed, 
a twinkle dawned in his eyes, and his lips took on their 
old-time, humorous curve. And lo ! the valet became 
merged and lost in the cosmopolitan, the dweller in many 
cities, who had done and seen much, and could tell of such 
things so wittily and well that the miles passed unheeded, 
while the gallant bays whirled the light phaeton up hill 
and down dale, contemptuous of fatigue. 

It needs not here to describe more fully this journey 
whose tedium was unnoticed by reason of good-fellowship. 
Nor of the meal they ate at the " Chequers " Inn at Ton- 
bridge, and how they drank (at the Bo'sun's somewhat 
diffident suggestion) a health " to his Honor the Cap'n, 
and the poor old ' Bully-Sawyer,' Seventy-four." 

And thus Barnabas, clad in purple and fine linen and 
driving his own blood horses, talked and laughed with 
a one-legged mariner, and sought the companionship of 
his own valet; which irregularity must be excused by his 
youth and inexperience, and the lamentable fact that, 
despite his purple and fine linen, he was, as yet, only a 
man, alas ! 

Thus, then, as evening fell, behold them spinning along 

Barnabas Seeks Counsel 36^ 

that winding road where stood a certain ancient finger- 
post pointing the wayfarer: 


At sight of which weather-worn piece of timber, Bar- 
nabas must needs smile, though very tenderly, and there- 
after fall a-sighing. But all at once he checked his sighs 
to stare in amazement, for there, demurely seated beneath 
the finger-post, and completely engrossed in her needle- 
work, was a small, lonely figure, at sight of which Barna- 
bas pulled up the bays in mid-career. 

" Why — Duchess ! " he exclaimed, and, giving Peterby 
the reins, stepped out of the phaeton. 

" Ah! is that you, Mr. Beverley? " sighed the Duchess, 
looking up from her embroidery, which, like herself, was 
very elaborate, very dainty, and very small. " You find 
me here, sitting by the wayside, — and a very desolate 
figure I must look, I 'm sure, — you find me here because 
I have been driven away by the tantrums of an undutiful 
god-daughter, and the barbarity of a bloodthirsty buc- 
caneer. I mean the Captain, of course. And all because 
I had the forethought to tell Cleone her nose was red, — 
which it was, — sunburn you know, and because I re- 
marked that the Captain was growing as rotund as a 
Prenchman, which he is, — I mean fat, of course. All 
Prenchmen are fat — at least some are. And then he will 
wear such a shabby old coat ! So here I am, Mr. Beverley, 
very lonely and very sad, but industrious you see, quite 
as busy as Penelope, who used to spin webs all day long, — 
which sounds as though she were a spider instead of a 
classical lady who used to undo them again at night, — I 
mean the webs, not the spiders. But, indeed, you 're very 
silent, Mr. Beverley, though I 'm glad to see you are here 
so well to time." 

"To time, madam?" 

" Because, you see, I 've won my bet. Oh yes, indeed, 
I bet about everything nowadays, — oh, feverishly, sir, 
and shall do, until the race is over, I suppose." 

366 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Indeed, Duchess? " 

" Yes. I bet Cleone an Indian shawl against a pair of 
beaded mittens that you would be here, to-day, before 
ten o'clock. So you see, you are hours before your time, 
and the mittens are mine. Talking of Cleone, sir, she 's 
in the orchard. She 's also in a shocking temper — 
indeed quite cattish, so you 'd better stay here and talk 
to me. But then — she 's alone, and looking vastly hand- 
some, I '11 admit, so, of course, you 're dying to be gone — 
now are n't you? " 

" No," Barnabas replied, and turning, bade Peterby 
drive on to the house. 

" Then you ought to be ! " retorted the Duchess, shak- 
ing an admonitory finger at him, yet smiling also as the 
carriage rolled away. " Youth can never prefer to listen 
to a chattering old woman — in a wig ! " 

" But you see, madam, I need your help, your advice," 
said Barnabas gravely. 

" Ah, now I love giving people advice ! It 's so pleas- 
ant and — easy ! " 

" I wish to confide in you, — if I may." 

" Confidences are always interesting — especially in the 
country ! " 

" Duchess, I — I — have a confession to make." 

"A confession, sir? Then I needn't pretend to work 
any longer — besides, I always prick myself. There ! " 
And rolling the very small piece of embroidery into a 
ball, she gave it to Barnabas. " Pray sir, hide the odious 
thing in your pocket. Will you sit beside me? No? 
Very well — now, begin, sir ! " 

" Whv, then, madam, in the first place, I — " 

" Yes"? " 

"I — that is to say, — you — must understand that — 
in the first place — " 

" You 've said ' first place ' twice ! " nodded the Duch- 
ess as he paused. 

"Yes — Oh! — Did I? Indeed I — I fear it is going 
to be even harder to speak of than I thought, and I 

Barnabas Seeks Counsel 367 

have been nerving myself to tell you ever since I started 
from London." 

"To tell me what?" 

" That which may provoke your scorn of me, which 
may earn me Cleone's bitterest contempt." 

" Why then, sir — don't say another word about 
it — " 

" Ah, but I must — indeed I must ! For I know now 
that to balk at it, to — to keep silent any longer would 
be dishonorable — and the act of a coward ! " 

" Oh dear me ! " sighed the Duchess, " I fear you are 
going to be dreadfully heroic about something ! " 

" Let us say — truthful, madam ! " 

" But, sir, — surely Truthfulness, after all, is merely 
the last resource of the hopelessly incompetent ! Anyhow 
it must be very uncomfortable, I 'm sure," said the 
Duchess, nodding her head. Yet she was quick to notice 
the distress in his voice, and the gleam of moisture among 
the curls at his temple, hence her tone was more encour- 
aging as she continued. " Still, sir, speak on if you wish, 
for even a Duchess may appreciate honor and truth — 
in another, of course, — though she does wear a wig ! " 

' " Believe me," sighed Barnabas, beginning to stride 
restlessly to and fro, " the full significance of my conduct 
never occurred to me until it was forced on my notice 
by — by another, and then — " he paused and brushed 
the damp curls from his brow. " To-day I tried to write 
to Cleone — to tell her everything, but I — could n't." 

" So you decided to come and tell me first, which was 
very nice of you," nodded the Duchess, " oh, very right 
and proper ! Well, sir, I 'm listening." 

" First, then," said Barnabas, coming to a halt, and 
looking down at her steadfast-eyed, " you must know 
that my real name is — Barty." 

" Barty? " repeated the Duchess, raising her brows. 
" Mm ! I like Beverley much better." 

" Beverley was my mother's name. She was Joan 

368 The Amateur Gentleman 


Joan? Joan Beverley? Why y-e-s, I think I remem- 
ber her, and the talk there was. Joan? Ah yes, to be 
sure, — very handsome, and — disappeared. No one 
knew why, but now, — I begin to understand. You would 
suggest — " 

" That she became the honorable wife of my father, 
John Barty, the celebrated pugilist and ex-champion of 
England, now keeper of a village inn," said Barnabas, 
speaking all in a breath, but maintaining his steadfast 

" Eh? " cried the Duchess, and rose to her feet with 
astonishing ease for one of her years, " eh, sir, an inn- 
keeper ! And your mother — actually married him? " and 
the Duchess shivered. 

" Yes, madam. I am their lawful son." 

" Dreadful ! " cried the Duchess, " handsome Joan 
Beverley — married to an — inn-keeper ! Horrible ! 
She 'd much better have died — say, in a ditch — so 
much more respectable ! " 

" My father is an honorable man ! " said Barnabas, with 
upflung head. 

" Your father is — an inn-keeper ! " 

" And — my father, madam ! " 

" The wretch ! " exclaimed the Duchess. " Oh, fright- 
ful ! " and she shivered again. 

" And his son — loves Cleone ! " 

"Dreadful! Frightful!" cried the Duchess. "An 
inn-keeper's son ! Beer and skittles and clay pipes ! Oh, 
shocking ! " And here, shuddering for the third time as 
only a great lady might, she turned her back on him. 

" Ah," cried Barnabas, " so you scorn me — already? " 

" Of course." 

" For being — an inn-keeper's son? " 

" For — telling of it ! " 

" And yet," said Barnabas, " I think Barnabas Barty 
is a better man than Barnabas Beverley, and a more 
worthy lover; indeed I know he is. And, as Barnabas 
Barty, I bid your Grace good-by ! " 

Barnabas Seeks Counsel 369 

" Where are you going? " 

" To the village inn, madam, my proper place, it seems. 
But — to-morrow morning, unless you have told Cleone, 
I shall. And now, if your Grace will have the kindness to 
send my servant to me — " 

"But — why tell Cleone?" inquired the Duchess over 
her shoulder ; " there is one alternative left to you." 

" Then, madam, in heaven's name, — tell it me ! " cried 
Barnabas eagerly. 

" A ridiculously simple one, sir." 

" Oh, madam — what can I do — pray tell me." 

" You must — disown this inn-keeping wretch, of 
course. You must cast him off — now, at once, and for- 


! » 

" Disown him — my father ! " 

" Certainly." 

Barnabas stared wide-eyed. Then he laughed, and un- 
covering his head, bowed deeply. 

" Madam," said he, " I have the honor to bid your Grace 
good-by ! " 

" You — will tell Cleone then? " 

" To-morrow morning." 


" Because I love her. Because I, therefore, hate deceit, 
and because I — " 


" And because Mr. Chichester knows already." 

" Ah ! You mean that he has forced your hand, sir, and 
now you would make the best of it — " 

" I mean that he has opened my eyes, madam." 

" And to-morrow you will tell Cleone? " 

" Yes." 

" And, of course, she will scorn you for an impudent 
impostor? " 

Now at this Barnabas flinched, for these were Chiches- 
ter's own words, and they bore a double sting. 

" And yet — I must tell her ! " he groaned. 

" And afterwards, where shall you go? " 

370 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Anywhere," he sighed, with a hopeless gesture. 

"And — the Race?" 

" Will be run without me." 

" And your friends — the Marquis, Viscount Deven- 
ham, and the rest? " 

" Will, I expect, turn their gentlemanly backs upon me 
— as you yourself have done. So, madam, I thank you 
for your past kindness, and bid you — good-by ! " 

"Stop, sir!" 

" Of what avail, madam? " sighed Barnabas, turning 

" Come back — I command you ! " 

" I am beneath your Grace's commands, henceforth," 
said Barnabas, and plodded on down the road. 

" Then I — beg of you ! " 

" Why ? " he inquired, pausing. 

" Because — oh, because you are running off with my 
precious needlework, of course. In your pocket, sir, — the 
left one ! " So, perforce, Barnabas came back, and stand- 
ing again beneath the finger-post, gave the Duchess her 
very small piece of embroidery. But, behold! his hand 
was caught and held between two others, which, though 
very fragile, were very imperious. 

" Barnabas," said the Duchess very softly, " oh, dear 
me, I 'm glad you told me, oh very ! I hoped you 

"Hoped? Why — why, madam, you — then you 
knew? " 

" All about it, of course ! Oh, you need n't stare — it 
was n't witchcraft, it was this letter — read it." And 
taking a letter from her reticule, she gave it to Barnabas, 
and watched him while he read : 

" To her Grace the Duchess of Camberhurst. 

" Madam, — In justice to yourself I take occasion to 
warn your Grace against the person calling himself Barna- 
bas Beverley. He is, in reality, an impudent impostor of 
humble birth and mean extraction. His real name and 

Barnabas Seeks Counsel 371 

condition I will prove absolutely to your Grace at another 

" Your Grace's most humble obedt. 

" Wilfred Chichester. " 

" So you see I 'm not a witch, sir, — oh no, I 'm only 
an old woman, with, among many other useful gifts, a 
very sharp eye for faces, a remarkable genius for asking 
questions, and the feminine capacity for adding two and 
two together and making them — eight. So, upon read- 
ing this letter, I made inquiries on my own account with 
the result that yesterday I drove over to a certain inn 
called the ' Coursing Hound,' and talked with your father. 
Very handsome he is too — as he always was, and I saw 
him in the hey-day of his fame, remember. Well, I sipped 
his ale, — very good ale I found it, and while I sipped, 
we talked. He is very proud of his son, it seems, and he 
even showed me a letter this son had written him from 
the 6 George ' inn at Southwark. Ha ! Joan Beverley was 
to have married an ugly old wretch of a marquis, and 
John Barty is handsome still. But an inn-keeper, hum ! " 

" So — that was why my mother ran away, madam? " 

" And Wilfred Chichester knows of this, and will tell 
Cleone, of course ! " 

" I think not — at least not yet," answered Barnabas 
thoughtfully, — " you see, he is using this knowledge as 
a weapon against me." 


" I promised to help Ronald Barrymaine — " 

" That wretched boy ! Well? " 

" And the only way to do so was to remove him from 
Chichester's influence altogether. So I warned Mr. Chi- 
chester that unless he forswore Barrymaine's society, 
I would, as Joan Beverley's son and heir to the Beverley 
heritage, prove my claim and dispossess him." 

" You actually threatened Wilfred Chichester with this, 
and forgot that in finding you your mother's son, he would 
prove you to be your father's also? " 

372 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Yes, I — I only remembered my promise." 

" The one you gave Cleone, which she had no right to 
exact — as I told her — " 

" But, madam — " 

" Oh, she confessed to me all about it, and how you 
had tried to pay Ronald's debts for him out of your 
own pocket, — which was very magnificent but quite 

" Yes," sighed Barnabas, " so now I am determined to 
free him from Chichester first — " 

" By dispossessing Chichester? " 

" Yes, madam." 

" But — can't you see, if you force him to expose you 
it will mean your social ruin? " 

" But then I gave — Her — my promise." 

" Oh, Barnabas," said the Duchess, looking up at him 
with her young, beautiful eyes that were so like Cleone's, 
" what a superb fool you are ! And your father is only 
a village inn-keeper ! " 

" No, madam, — he was champion of all England as 

" Oh ! " sighed the Duchess, shaking her head, " that 
poor Sir Mortimer Carnaby ! But, as for you, sir, you 're 
a fool, either a very clumsy, or a very — unselfish one, — 
anyhow, yon 're a fool, you know ! " 

" Yes," sighed Barnabas, his head hanging, " I fear I 

" Oh yes, — you 're quite a fool — not a doubt of it ! " 
said the Duchess with a nod of finality. " And yet, oh, 
dear me ! I think it may be because I 'm seventy-one and 
growing younger every day, or perhaps because I 'm so 
old that I have to wear a wig, but my tastes are so peculiar 
that there are some fools I could almost — love. So you 
may give me your arm, — Barnabas." 

He obeyed mechanically, and they went on down the 
road together in silence until they came to a pair of tall;, 
hospitable gates, and here Barnabas paused, and spoke 
wonder in gly : 

Barnabas Seeks Counsel 373 

" Madam, you — you surely forget I am the son of 
a — " 

" A champion of all England, Barnabas. But, though 
you can thrash Sir Mortimer Carnaby, Wilfred Chi- 
chester is the kind of creature that only a truly clever 
woman can hope to deal with, so you may leave him 
to me!" 

" But, madam, I — " 

" Barnabas, quite so. But Wilfred Chichester always 
makes me shudder, and I love to shudder — now and then, 
especially in the hot weather. And then everything bores 
me lately — Cleone, myself, — even Whist, so I '11 try my 
hand at another game — with Wilfred Chichester as an 

" But, Duchess, indeed I — " 

" Very true, Barnabas ! but the matter is quite settled. 
And now, you are still determined to — confess your 
father to Cleone, I suppose? " 

" Yes, I dare not speak to her otherwise, how could I T 
knowing myself an — " 

"Impudent impostor, sir? Quite so and fiddlesticks!: 
Heigho ! you are so abominably high-minded and heroic* 
Barnabas, — it 's quite depressing. Cleone is only a 
human woman, who powders her nose when it 's red, and 
quite right too — I mean the powder of course, not the 
redness. Oh ! indeed she 's very human, and after all, 
your mother was a Beverley, and I know you are rich 
and — ah ! there she is — on the terrace with the Cap- 
tain, and I 'm sure she has seen you, Barnabas, because 
she 's so vastly unconscious. Observe the pose of her 
head, — she has a perfect neck and shoulders, and she 
knows it. There ! see her kissing the Captain, — that 's- 
all for my benefit, the yellow minx! just because I hap- 
pened to call him a ' hunks,' and so he is — though I 
don't know what I meant, — because he refused to change 
that dreadful old service coat. There ! now she 's patting- 
his cheek — the golden jade ! Now — watch her surprise 
when she pretends to catch sight of us ! " 

374 The Amateur Gentleman 

Hereupon, as they advanced over the smooth turf, the 
Duchess raised her voice. 

" My bird ! " she called in dulcet tones, " Clo dear, 
Cleone my lamb, here is Barnabas, I found him — under 
the finger-post, my dove ! " 

My lady turned, gave the least little start in the world, 
was surprised, glad, demure, all in the self-same minute, 
and taking the arm of her Tyrant, who had already begun 
a truly nautical greeting, led him, forthwith, down the 
terrace steps, the shining curls at her temple brushing his 
shabby coat-sleeve as they came. 

" Ha ! " cried the Captain, " my dear fellow, we 're glad 

— I say we 're all of us glad to see you. Welcome to ' The 
Gables,' — eh, Clo?" 

And Cleone? With what gracious ease she greeted him! 
With what clear eyes she looked at him! With what 
demure dignity she gave him her white hand to kiss ! As 
though — for all the world as though she could ever hope 
to deceive anything so old and so very knowing as the 
ancient finger-post upon the London road! 

" Clo dear," said the Duchess, " they 're going to talk 
horses and racing, and bets and things, — I know they 
are, — your arm, my love. Now, — lead on, gentlemen. 
And now, my dear," she continued, speaking in Cleone's 
ear as Barnabas and the Captain moved on, " he simply 

— adores you ! " 

" Really, God-mother — how clever of you ! " said 
Cleone, her eyes brim full of merriment, " how wonderful 
you are ! " 

" Yes, my lady Pert, — he worships you and, con- 
sequently, is deceiving you with every breath he 
idraws ! " 

" Deceiving me — ! " 

" With every moment he lives ! " 

" But — oh, God-mother — ! " 

" Cleone, — he is not what he seems ! " 

" Deceiving me ? " 

"" His very name is false ! " 

Barnabas Seeks Counsel 375 

" What do you mean ? Ah no, no — I 'm sure he would 
not, and yet — oh, God-mother, — why ? " 

" Because — hush, Cleone — he 's immensely rich, one 
of the wealthiest young men in London, and — hush ! He 
would be — loved for himself alone. So, Cleone, — listen, 

— he may perhaps come to you with some wonderful 
story of poverty and humble birth. He may tell you 
his father was only a — a farmer, or a tinker, or a — an 
inn-keeper. Oh dear me, — so delightfully romantic ! 
Therefore, loving him as you do — " 

"I don't!" 

" With every one of your yellow hairs — " 

"I do — not!" 

" From the sole of your foot — " 

" God-mother ! " 

" To the crown of your wilful head, — oh, Youth, 
Youth ! — you may let your heart answer as it would. 
Oh Fire! Passion! Romance! (yes, yes, Jack, — we're 
coming!) Your heart, I say, Cleone, may have its way, 
because with all his wealth he has a father who — hush ! 

— at one time was the greatest man in all England, — a 
powerful man, Clo, — a famous man, indeed a man of 
the most — striking capabilities. So, when your heart — 
(dear me, how impatient Jack is!) Oh, supper? Excel- 
lent, for, child, now I come to think of it, I 'm positively 
swooning with hunger ! " 



To those who, standing apart from the rush and flurry 
of life, look upon the world with a seeing eye, it is, surely, 
interesting to observe on what small and apparently 
insignificant things great matters depend. To the stu- 
dent History abounds with examples, and to the philos- 
opher they are to be met with everywhere. 

But how should Barnabas (being neither a student nor 
a philosopher) know, or even guess, that all his fine ideas 
and intentions were to be frustrated, and his whole future 
entirely changed by nothing more nor less than — a pebble, 
an ordinary, smooth, round pebble, as innocent-seeming as 
any of its kind, yet (like young David's) singled out by 
destiny to be one of these " smaller things "? 

They were sitting on the terrace, the Duchess, Cleone, 
Barnabas, and the Captain, and they were very silent, — 
the Duchess, perhaps, because she had supped adequately, 
the Captain because of his long, clay pipe, Cleone because 
she happened to be lost in contemplation of the moon, 
and Barnabas, because he was utterly absorbed in con- 
templation of Cleone. 

The night was very warm and very still, and upon the 
quietude stole a sound — softer, yet more insistent than 
the whisper of wind among leaves, — a soothing, murmur- 
ous sound that seemed to make the pervading quiet but 
the more complete. 

" How cool the brook sounds ! " sighed the Duchess at 
last, " and the perfume of the roses, — oh dear me, how 
delicious ! Indeed I think the scent of roses always seems 

Small Things and a Pebble 377 

more intoxicating after one has supped well, for, after 
all, one must be well-fed to be really romantic, — eh, 
Jack? " 

" Romantic, mam ! " snorted the Captain, " romantic, 
— I say bosh, mam! I say — " 

" And then — the moon, Jack ! " 

" Moon? And what of it, mam, — I say — " 

" Roses always smell sweeter by moonlight, Jack, and 
are far more inclined to — go to the head — " 

" Roses ! " snorted the Captain, louder than before, 
" you must be thinking of rum, mam, rum — " 

" Then, Jack, to the perfume of roses, add the trill of 
a nightingale — " 

" And of all rums, mam, give me real old Jamaica — " 

" And to the trill of a nightingale, add again the mur- 
mur of an unseen brook, Jack — " 

"Eh, mam, eh? Nightingales, brooks? I say — oh, 
Gad, mam ! " and the Captain relapsed into tobacco- 
puffing indignation. 

" What more could youth and beauty ask ? Ah, Jack, 
Jack ! " sighed the Duchess, " had you paid more atten- 
tion to brooks and nightingales, and stared at the moon 
in your youth, you might have been a green young grand- 
father to-night, instead of a hoary old bachelor in a 
shabby coat — sucking consolation from a clay pipe ! " 

" Consolation, mam ! For what — I say, I demand to 
know for what? " 

" Loneliness, Jack ! " 

" Eh, Duchess, — what, mam? Have n't I got my dear 
Clo, and the Bo'sun, eh, mam — eh? " 

" The Bo'sun, yes, — he smokes a pipe, but Cleone 
can't, so she looks at the moon instead, — don't vou 

" The moon, God-mother? " exclaimed Cleone, bringing 
her gaze earthwards on the instant. " Why I, — I — the 
moon, indeed ! " 

" And she listens to the brook, Jack, — don't you, my 

378 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Why, God-mother, I — the brook? Of course not ! " 
said Cleone. 

" And, consequently, Jack, you must n't expect to keep 
her much longer — " 

" Eh ! " cried the bewildered Captain, " what 's all this, 
Duchess, — I say, what d' ye mean, mam? " 

" Some women," sighed the Duchess, " some women 
never know they 're in love until they 've married the 
wrong man, and then it 's too late, poor things. But 
our sweet Clo, on the contrary — " 

" Love ! " snorted the Captain louder than ever, " now 
sink me, mam, — I say, sink and scuttle me ; but what 's 
love got to do with Clo, eh, mam? " 

" More than you think, Jack — ask her ! " 

But lo ! my lady had risen, and was already descend- 
ing the terrace steps, a little hurriedly perhaps, yet in 
most stately fashion. Whereupon Barnabas, feeling her 
Grace's impelling hand upon his arm, obeyed the imperious 
command and rising, also descended the steps, — though 
in fashion not at all stately, — and strode after my lady, 
and being come beside her, walked on — yet found noth- 
ing to say, abashed by her very dignity. But, after they 
had gone thus some distance, venturing to glance at her 
averted face, Barnabas espied the dimple beside her mouth. 

" Cleone," said he suddenly, " what has love to do with 

Now, for a moment, she looked up at him, then her 
lashes drooped, and she turned away. 

" Oh, sir," she answered, " lift up your eyes and look 
upon the moon ! " 

"Cleone, has love — come to you — at last? Tell 
me ! " But my lady walked on for a distance with head 
again averted, and — with never a word. " Speak ! " said 
Barnabas, and caught her hand (unresisting now), and 
held it to his lips. " Oh, Cleone, — answer me ! " 

Then Cleone obeyed and spoke, though her voice was 
tremulous and low. 

" Ah, sir," said she, " listen to the brook ! " 

Small Things and a Pebble 379 

Now it so chanced they had drawn very near this 
talkative stream, whose voice reached them — now in 
hoarse whisperings, now in throaty chucklings, and whose 
ripples were bright with the reflected glory of the moon. 
Just where they stood, a path led down to these shim- 
mering waters, — a narrow and very steep path screened 
by bending willows; and, moved by Fate, or Chance, or 
Destiny, Barnabas descended this path, and turning, 
reached up his hands to Cleone. 

" Come ! " he said. And thus, for a moment, while he 
looked up into her eyes, she looked down into his, and 
sighed, and moved towards him, and — set her foot upon 
the pebble. 

And thus, behold the pebble had achieved its purpose, 
for, next moment Cleone was lying in his arms, and for 
neither of them was life or the world to be ever the same 

Yes, indeed, the perfume of the roses was full of intoxi- 
cation to-night; the murmurous brook whispered of 
things scarce dreamed of; and the waning moon was 
bright enough to show the look in her eyes and the quiver 
of her mouth as Barnabas stooped above her. 

" Cleone ! " he whispered, " Cleone — can you — do you 

— love me? Oh, my white lady, — my woman that I love, 

— do you love me? " 

She did not speak, but her eyes answered him; and, 
in that moment Barnabas stooped and kissed her, and 
held her close, and closer, until she sighed and stirred in 
his embrace. 

Then, all at once, he groaned and set her down, and 
stood before her with bent head. 

" My dear," said he, " oh, my dear ! " 


" Forgive me, — I should have spoken, — indeed, I 
meant to, — but I could n't think, — it was so sudden, — 
forgive me ! I did n't mean to even touch your hand until 
I had confessed my deceit. Oh, my dear, — I am not — 
not the fine gentleman you think me. I am only a very 

380 The Amateur Gentleman 

— humble fellow. The son of a village — inn-keeper. 
Your eyes were — kind to me just now, but, oh Cleone, 
if so humble a fellow is — unworthy, as I fear, — I — I 
will try to — forget." 

Very still she stood, looking upon his bent head, saw 
the quiver of his lips, and the griping of his strong hands. 
Now, when she spoke, her voice was very tender. 

" Can you — ever forget? " 

" I will — try ! " 

" Then — oh, Barnabas, don't ! Because I — think I 
could — love this — humble fellow, Barnabas." 

The moon, of course, has looked on many a happy lover, 
yet where find one, before or since, more radiant than 
young Barnabas; and the brook, even in its softest, 
most tender murmurs, could never hope to catch the 
faintest echo of Cleone's voice or the indescribable thrill 
of it. 

And as for the pebble that was so round, so smooth 
and innocent-seeming, whether its part had been that of 
beneficent sprite, or malevolent demon, he who troubles 
to read on may learn. 



u Oh — hif you please, sir ! " 

Barnabas started, and looking about, presently espied 
a figure in the shadow of the osiers; a very small figure, 
upon whose diminutive j acket were numerous buttons that 
glittered under the moon. 

" Why — it 's Milo of Crotona ! " said Cleone. 

" Yes, my lady — hif you please, it are," answered 
Milo of Crotona, touching the peak of his leather cap. 

" But — what are you doing here? How did you know 
where to find us? " 

" 'Cause as I came up the drive, m' lady, I jest 'appened 
to see you a-walking together, — so I followed you, I 
did, m' lady." 

" Followed us? " repeated Cleone rather faintly. " Oh ! " 

" And then — when I seen you slip, m' lady, I thought 
as 'ow I 'd better — wait a bit. So I waited, I did." And 
here, again, Milo of Crotona touched the peak of his cap, 
and looked from Barnabas to Cleone's flushing loveliness 
with eyes wide and profoundly innocent, — a very cherub 
in top-boots, only his buttons (Ah, his buttons!) seemed 
to leer and wink one to another, as much as to say : " Oh 
yes! Of course! to — be — sure?" 

" And what brings you so far from London? " inquired 
Barnabas, rather hurriedly. 

" Coach, sir, — box seat, sir ! " 

" And you brought your master with you, of course, 
— is the Viscount here? " 

" No, m' lady. I 'ad to leave 'im be'ind 'count of 'im 
being unfit to travel — " 

" Is he ill? " 

382 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Oh, no, not hill, m' lady, — only shot, 'e is." 

" Shot! " exclaimed Barnabas, "how — where? " 

" In the harm, sir, — all on 'count of 'is 'oss, — ' Moon- 
raker ' sir." 

"His horse?" 

" Yessir. 'S' arternoon it were. Ye see, for a long 
time I ain't been easy in me mind about them stables 
where 'im and you keeps your 'osses, sir, 'count of it not 
being safe enough, — worritted I 'ave, sir. So V arter- 
noon, as we was passing the end o' the street, I sez to 
m' lud, I sez, 'Won't your Ludship jest pop your nob 
round the corner and squint your peepers at the 'osses? ' I 
sez. So 'e laughs, easy like, and in we pops. And the first 
thing we see was your 'ead groom, Mr. Martin, wiv blood 
on 'is mug and one peeper in mourning a-wrastling wiv 
two coves, and our 'ead groom, Standish, wiv another of 
'em. Jest as we run up, down goes Mr. Martin, but — 
afore they could maul 'im wiv their trotters, there 's 
m' lud wiv 'is fists an' me wiv a pitchfork as 'appened to 
lie 'andy. And very lively it were, sir, for a minute or 
two. Then off goes a barker and off go the coves, and 
there 's m' lud 'olding onto 'is harm and swearing 'eavens 
*ard. And that 's all, sir." 

" And these men were — trying to get at the horses ? " 

" Ah ! Meant to nobble * Moonraker,' they did, — 'im 
bein' one o' the favorites, d' ye see, sir, and it looked to 
me as if they meant to do for your 'oss, ' The Terror,' 
a-s well." 

" And is the Viscount much hurt ? " 

" Why no, sir. And it were only 'is whip-arm. 'Urts 
a bit o' course, but 'e managed to write you a letter, 'e 
did; an' 'ere it is." 

So Barnabas took the letter, and holding it in the 
moonlight where Cleone could see it, they, together, made 
out these words: 

" My Dear Bev, — There is durty work afoot. Some 
Raskells have tried to lame ' Moonraker,' but thanks to 

Barnabas Finds his Manhood 383 

my Imp and your man Martin, quite unsuccessfully. How- 
beit your man Martin — regular game for all his years — 
has a broken nob and one ogle closed up, and I a ball 
through my arm, but nothing to matter. But I am greatly 
pirtirbed for the safety of ' Moonraker ' and mean to get 
him into safer quarters and advise you to do likewise. 
Also, though your horse ' The Terror,' as the stable-boys 
call him, is not even in the betting, it almost seems, from 
what I can gather, that they meant to nobble him also. 
Therefore I think you were wiser to return at once, and 
I am anxious to see you on another matter as well. Your 
bets with Carnaby and Chichester have somehow got about 
and are the talk of the town, and from what I hear, much 
to your disparagement, I fear. 

" A pity to shorten your stay in the country, but under 
the circumstances, most advisable. 

" Yours ever, etc., 

" Dick. 

" P.S. My love and service to the Duchess, Cleone and 
the Capt." 

Now here Barnabas looked at Cleone, and sighed, and 
Cleone sighing also, nodded her head: 

" You must go," said she, very softly, and sighed again. 

" Yes, I must go, and yet — it is so very soon, Cleone ! " 

" Yes, it is dreadfully soon, Barnabas. But what does 
he mean by saying that people are talking of you 
to your disparagement? How dare they? Why should 
they? " 

" I think because I, a rank outsider, ventured to lay a 
wager against Sir Mortimer Carnaby." 

"Do you mean you bet him that you would win the 
race, Barnabas? " 

" No, — only that I would beat Sir Mortimer Carnaby." 

" But, oh Barnabas, — he is the race ! Surely you 
know he and the Viscount are favorites? " 

" Oh, yes ! " 

" Then you do think you can win? " 

384 The Amateur Gentleman 

" I mean to try — very hard ! " said Barnabas, begin- 
ning to frown a little. 

" And I begin to think," said Cleone, struck by his 
resolute eyes and indomitable mouth, " oh, Barnabas — J 
begin to think you — almost may." 

"And if I did?" 

" Then I should be very — proud of you." 

"And if Host?" 

" Then you would be — " 


" Just — " 

" Yes, Cleone? " 

" My, Barnabas ! Ah, no, no ! " she whispered sud- 
denly, " you are crushing me — dreadfully, and besides, 
that boy has terribly sharp eyes ! " and Cleone nodded 
to where Master Milo stood, some distance away, with 
his innocent orbs lifted pensively towards the heavens, 
more like a cherub than ever. 

" But he 's not looking, and oh, Cleone, — how can I 
bear to leave you so soon? You are more to me than any- 
thing else in the world. You are my life, my soul, — my 
honor, — oh my dear ! " 

" Do you — love me so very much, Barnabas ? " said 
she, with a sudden catch in her voice. 

" And always must ! Oh my dear, my dear, — don't 
you know? But indeed, words are so small and my love 
is so great that I fear you can never quite guess, or I 
tell it all." 

" Then, Barnabas, — you will go? " 

" Must I, Cleone? It will be so very hard to lose you 
— so soon." 

" But a man always chooses the harder course, does n't 
he, Barnabas? And, dear, you cannot lose me, — and so 
you will go, won't you? " 

" Yes v I '11 go — because I love you ! " 

Then Cleone drew him deeper into the shade of the 
willows, and with a sudden, swift gesture, reached up her 
hands and set them about his neck. 

Barnabas Finds his Manhood 385 

" Oh my dear," she murmured, " oh Barnabas dear, I 
think I can guess — now. And I 'm sure — the boy — 
can't see us — here ! " 

No, surely, neither this particular brook nor any other 
water-brook, stream or freshet, that ever sang, or sighed, 
or murmured among the reeds, could ever hope to catch 
all the thrilling tenderness of the sweet soft tones of 
Cleone's voice. 

A brook indeed? Ridiculous! 

Therefore this brook must needs give up attempting 
the impossible, and betake itself to offensive chuckles and 
spiteful whisperings, and would have babbled tales to the 
Duchess had that remarkable, ancient lady been versed 
in the language of brooks. As it was, she came full upon 
Master Milo still intent upon the heavens, it is true, 
but in such a posture that his buttons stared point- 
blank and quite unblushingly towards a certain clump 
of willows. 

" Oh Lud ! " exclaimed the Duchess, starting back, 
" dear me, what a strange little boy ! What do you want 
here, little man? " 

Milo of Crotona turned and — looked at her. And 
though his face was as cherubic as ever, there was haughty 
reproof in every button. 

"Who are you?" demanded the Duchess; "oh, gra- 
cious me, what a pretty child ! " 

Surely no cherub — especially one in such knowing 
top-boots — could be reasonably expected to put up with 
this ! Master Milo's innocent brow clouded suddenly, and 
the expression of his glittering buttons grew positively 

" I 'm Viscount Devenham's con-fee-dential groom, 
mam, I am! " said he coldly, and with his most superb air. 

"Groom?" said the Duchess, staring, "what a very 
small one, to be sure ! " 

" It ain't inches as counts wiv 'osges, mam, — or hany- 
think else, mam, — it 's nerves as counts, it is." 

" Why, yes, you seem to have plenty of nerve ! " 

386 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Well, mam, there ain't much as I trembles at, there 
ain't, — and when I do, I don't show it, I don't." 

" And such a pretty child, too ! " sighed the Duchess. 

"Child, mam? I ain't no child, I 'm a groom, I am. 
Child yourself, mam ! " 

" Lud ! I do believe he 's even paying me compliments ! 
How old are you, boy? " 

" A lot more 'n you think, and hoceans more 'n I look, 

" And what 's your name? " 

" Milo, mam, — Milo o' Crotona, but my pals generally 
calls me Tony, for short, they do." 

" Milo of Crotona ! " repeated the Duchess, with her 
eyes wider than ever, " but he was a giant who slew an 
ox with his fist, and ate it whole ! " 

" Why, mam, I 'm oncommon fond of oxes, — roasted, 
I am." 

" Well," said the Duchess, " you are the very smallest 
giant I ever saw." 

" Why, you ain't werry large yourself, mam, you ain't." 

" No, I fear I am rather petite," said the Duchess 
with a trill of girlish laughter. " And pray, Giant, what 
may you be doing here? " 

" Come up on the coach, I did, — box seat, mam, — to 
take Mr. Beverley back wiv me 'cause 'is 'oss ain't safe, 
and — " 

" Not safe, — what do you mean, boy ? " 

" Some coves got in and tried to nobble * Moonraker ' 
and 'im — " 

"Nobble, boy?" 

" Lame 'em, mam, — put 'em out o' the running." 

" The wretches ! " 

" Yes 'm. Ye see us sportsmen 'ave our worritting 
times, we do." 

"But where is Mr. Beverley?" 

"Why, I ain't looked, mam, I ain't, — but they're 
down by the brook — behind them bushes, they are." 

" Oh, are they ! " said the Duchess, " Hum ! " 

Barnabas Finds his Manhood 387 

" No mam, — 'e 's a-coming, and so 's she." 

" Why, Barnabas," cried the Duchess, as Cleone and 
he stepped out of the shadow, " what 's all this I hear 
about your horse, — what is the meaning of it?" 

" That I must start for London to-night, Duchess." 

" Leave to-night ? Absurd ! " 

" And yet, madam, Cleone seems to think I must, and 
so does Viscount Devenham, — see what he writes." So 
the Duchess took the Viscount's letter and, having de- 
ciphered it with some difficulty, turned upon Barnabas 
with admonishing finger upraised: 

" So you 've been betting, eh? And with Sir Mortimer 
Carnaby and Mr. Chichester of all people? " 

" Yes, madam." 

" Ah! You backed the Viscount, I suppose? " 

" No, — I backed myself, Duchess." 

" Gracious goodness — " 

" But only to beat Sir Mortimer Carnaby — " 

" The other favorite. Oh, ridiculous ! What odds did 
they give you? " 


" You mean — oh, dear me ! — you actually backed 
yourself — at even money ? " 

" Yes, Duchess." 

" But you have n't a chance, Barnabas, — not a chance I 
You did n't bet much, I hope ? " % 

" Not so much as I intended, madam." 

" Pray what was the sum ? " 

" Twenty thousand pounds." 

"Not — each?" 

" Yes, madam." 

" Forty thousand pounds ! Against a favorite ! Cleone, 
my dear," said the Duchess, with one of her quick, incisive 
nods, " Cleone, this Barnabas of ours is either a madman 
or a fool ! And yet — stoop down, sir, — here where 
I can see you, — hum ! And yet, Cleone, there are times 
when I think he is perhaps a little wiser than he seems, — 
nothing is so baffling as simplicity, my dear! If you 

388 The Amateur Gentleman 

wished to be talked about, Barnabas, you have succeeded 
admirably, — no wonder all London is laughing over such 
a preposterous bet. Forty thousand pounds ! Well, it 
will at least buy you notoriety, and that is next to 

" Indeed, I had n't thought of that," said Barnabas. 

" And supposing your horse had been lamed and you 
could n't ride, — how then? " 

" Why, then, I forfeit the money, madam." 

Now here the Duchess frowned thoughtfully, and there- 
after said " ha ! " so suddenly, that Cleone started and 
hurried to her side. 

" Dear God-mother, what is it ? " 

" A thought, my dear ! " 

"But — " 

ic Call it a woman's intuition if you will." 

" What is your thought, dear? " 

" That you are right, Cleone, — he must go — at 
once ! " 

"Go? Barnabas?" 

" Yes ; to London, — now — this very instant ! Unless 
you prefer to forfeit your money, Barnabas? " 

But Barnabas only smiled and shook his head. 

" You would be wiser ! " 

*' But I was never very wise, I fear," said Barnabas. 

" And — much safer ! " 

" Oh, God-mother, — do you think there is — danger, 
then? " 

" Yes, child, I do. Indeed, Barnabas, you were wiser 
and safer to forfeit your wagers and stay here with me 
and — Cleone!" 

But Barnabas only sighed and shook his head. 

" Cleone," said the Duchess, " speak to him." 

So blushing a little, sighing a little, Cleone reached out 
her hand to Barnabas, while the Duchess watched them 
with her young, bright eyes. 

" Oh, Barnabas, God-mother is very wise, and if — 
there is danger — you must n't go — for my sake." 

Barnabas Finds his Manhood 389 

But Barnabas shook his head again, and taking in his 
strong clasp the pleading hand upon his arm, turned to 
the Duchess. 

" Madam," said he, " dear Duchess, to-night I have 
found mj manhood, for to-night I have learned that a 
man must ever choose the hardest course and follow it — ■: 
to the end. To-night Cleone has taught me — many 

" And you will — stay? " inquired the Duchess. 

" 1 must go ! " said Barnabas. 

" Then good-by — Barnabas ! " said her Grace, looking 
up at him with a sudden, radiant smile, " good-by ! " said 
she very softly, " it is a fine thing to be a gentleman, 
perhaps, — but it is a godlike thing to be — a man ! " 
So saying, she gave him her hand, and as Barnabas 
stooped to kiss those small, white fingers, she looked down 
at his curly head with such an expression as surely few 
had ever seen within the eyes of this ancient, childless 
woman, her Grace of Camberhurst. 

" Now Giant ! " she called, as Barnabas turned towards 
Cleone, " come here, Giant, and promise me to take care 
of Mr. Beverley." 

" Yes, mam, — all right, mam, — you jest leave 'im to 
me," replied Master Milo with his superb air, " don't you 
worrit on 'is account, 'e '11 be all right along o' me, mam, 
'e will." 

" For that," cried the Duchess, catching him by. two 
of his gleaming buttons, " for that I mean to kiss you, 
Giant ! " The which, despite his reproving blushes, she 
did forthwith. 

And Cleone and Barnabas? Well, it so chanced, her 
Grace's back was towards them ; while as for Master Milo 
— abashed, and for once forgetful of his bepolished top- 
boots, he became in very truth a child, though one utterly 
unused to the motherly touch of a tender woman's lips; 
therefore he suffered the embrace with closed eyes, — 
even his buttons were eclipsed, and, in that moment, the 
Duchess whispered something in his ear. Then he turned 

3 go The Amateur Gentleman 

and followed after Barnabas, who was already striding 
away across the wide lawn, his head carried high, a new 
light in his eyes and a wondrous great joy at his heart, — 
a man henceforth — resolute to attempt all things, glory- 
ing in his strength and contemptuous of failure, because 
of the trill of a woman's voice and the quick hot touch 
of a woman's soft lips, whose caress had been in no sense 

— motherly. And presently, being come to the hospitable 
gates, he turned with bared head to look back at the two 
women, the one a childless mother, old and worn, yet wise 
with years, and the maid, strong and proud in all the 
glory of her warm, young womanhood. Side by side with 
arms entwined they stood, to watch young Barnabas, and 
in the eyes of each, an expression so much alike, yet so 
dissimilar. Then, with a flourish of his hat, Barnabas 
went on down the road, past the finger-post, with Milo 
of Crotona's small top-boots twinkling at his side. 

" Sir," said he suddenly, speaking in an awed tone, 
"is she a real Doochess — the little old 'un? " 

"Yes," nodded Barnabas, "very real. Why, Imp?" 
" 'Cos I called 'er a child, I did — Lord! An' then she 

— she kissed me, she did, sir — which ain't much in my 
line, it ain't. But she give me a guinea, sir, an' she 
likewise whispered in my ear, she did." 

"Oh?" said Barnabas, thinking of Cleone — "whis- 
pered, did she? " 

" Ah ! she says to me — quick like, sir, — she says, ' tell 
'im,' she says — meaning you, sir, ' tell 'im to beware o' 
Wilfred Chichester ! ' she says." 




The chill of dawn was in the air as the chaise began to 
rumble over the London cobble-stones, whereupon Master 
Milo (who for the last hour had slumbered peacefully, 
coiled up in his corner like a kitten) roused himself, sat 
suddenly very upright, straightened his cap and pulled 
down his coat, broad awake all at once, and with his eyes 
as round and bright as his buttons. 

"Are you tired, Imp?" inquired Barnabas, yawning. 

" Tired, sir, ho no, sir — not a bit, I ain't." 

" But you have n't slept much." 

" Slep', sir? I ain't slep'. I only jest 'appened to close 
me eyes, sir. Ye see, I don't need much sleep, I don't, — 
four hours is enough for any man, — my pal Nick says 
so, and Nick knows a precious lot, 'e do." 

"Who is Nick?" 

" Nick 's a cobbler/ sir, — boots and shoes, — ladies' 
and gents', and a very good cobbler 'e is too, although a 
cripple wiv a game leg. Me and 'im 's pals, sir, and 
though we 'as our little turn-ups 'count of 'im coming it 
so strong agin the Quality, I 'm never very 'ard on 'im 
'count of 'is crutch, d' ye see, sir." 

" What do you mean by the ' Quality,' Imp? " 

" Gentle-folks, sir, — rich folks like you an' m' lud. 
' I 'd gillertine the lot, if I 'd my way,' he says, ' like the 
Frenchies did in Ninety-three,' 'e says. But 'e would n't 
reelly o' course, for Nick 's very tender-hearted, though 'e 
don't like it known. So we 're pals, we are, and I often 
drop in to smoke a pipe wiv 'im — " 

392 The Amateur Gentleman 

" What! Do you smoke, Imp? " 

" Why, yes, o' course, sir, — all grooms smokes or 
chews, but I prefers a pipe — alius 'ave, ah ! ever since 
I were a kid. But I mostly only 'as a pipe when I drop 
in on my pal Nick in Giles's Rents." 

" Down by the River? " inquired Barnabas. 

" Yessir. And now, shall I horder the post-boy to 

"What for?" 

" Well, the stables is near by, sir, and I thought as 
you might like to take a glimp at the 'osses, — just to 
make your mind easy, sir." 

" Oh, very well ! " said Barnabas, for there was some- 
thing in the boy's small, eager face that he could not 

Therefore, having paid and dismissed the chaise, they 
turned into a certain narrow by-street. It was very dark 
as yet, although in the east was a faint, gray streak, and 
the air struck so chill, after the warmth of the chaise, that 
Barnabas shivered violently, and, happening to glance 
down, he saw that the boy was shivering also. On they 
went, side by side, between houses of gloom and silence, 
and thus, in a while, came to another narrow street, or 
rather, blind alley, at the foot of which were the stables. 

" Hush, sir ! " said the Imp, staring away to where the 
stable buildings loomed up before them, shadowy and in- 
distinct in the dawn. " Hush, sir ! " he repeated, and 
Barnabas saw that he was creeping forward on tip-toe, 
and, though scarce knowing why, he himself did the same. 

They found the great swing doors fast, bolted from 
within, and, in this still dead hour, save for their own 
soft breathing, not a sound reached them. Then Barna- 
bas laughed suddenly, and clapped Master Milo upon his 
small, rigid shoulder. 

" There, Imp, — you see it 's all right ! " said he, and 
then paused, and held his breath. 

" Did ye hear anvthink? " whispered the boy. 

" A chain — rattled, I think." 

"The Terror" Justifies his Name 393 

"And 'twas in 'The Terror's' stall, — there? didn't 
ye hear somethink else, sir? " 

" No ! " 

" I did, — it sounded like — " the boy's voice tailed off 
suddenly and, upon the silence, a low whistle sounded; 
then a thud, as of some one dropping from a height, 
quickly followed by another, — and thus two figures 
darted away, impalpable as ghosts in the dawn, but the 
alley was filled with the rush and patter of their flight. 
Instantly Barnabas turned in pursuit, then stopped and 
stood utterly still, his head turned, his eyes wide, glaring 
back towards the gloom of the stables. For, in that mo- 
ment, above the sudden harsh jangling of chains from 
within, above the pattering footsteps of the fugitives 
without, was an appalling sound rising high and ever 
higher — shrill, unearthly, and full of horror and tor- 
ment unspeakable. And now, sudden as it had come, it 
was gone, but in its place was another sound, — a sound 
dull and muffled, but continuous, and pierced, all at once, 
by the loud, hideous whinnying of a horse. Then Barna- 
bas sprang back to the doors, beating upon them with his 
fists and calling wildly for some one to open. 

And, in a while, a key grated, a bolt shrieked; the 
doors swung back, revealing Martin, half-dressed and with 
a lantern in his hand, while three or four undergrooms 
hovered, pale-faced, in the shadows behind. 

" My horse ! " said Barnabas, and snatched the lantern. 

" ' The Terror ' ! " cried Milo, " this way, sir ! " 

Coming to a certain shadowy corner, Barnabas unfast- 
ened and threw open the half-door ; and there, rising from 
the gloom of the stall, was a fiendish, black head with ears 
laid back, eyes rolling, and teeth laid bare, — cruel teeth, 
whose gleaming white was hatefully splotched, — strong 
teeth, in whose vicious grip something yet dangled. 

" Why — what 's he got there ! " cried Martin suddenly, 
and then — " Oh, my God ! sir, — look yonder ! " and, 
covering his eyes, he pointed towards a corner of the 
stall where the light of the lantern fell. And — twisted 

39+ The Amateur Gentleman 

and contorted, — something lay there ; something hide- 
ously battered, and torn, and trampled; something that 
now lay so very quiet and still, but which had left dark 
splashes and stains on walls and flooring; something that 
yet clutched the knife which was to have hamstrung and 
ended the career of Four-legs once and for all ; something 
that had once been a man. 




" My dear fellow," said the Viscount, stifling a yawn be- 
neath the bedclothes, " you rise with the lark, — or should 
it be linnet? Anyhow, you do, you know. So deuced 

" I am here early because I have n't been to bed, Dick." 
" Ah, night mail ? Dev'lish uncomfortable ! Did n't 
think you 'd come back in such a deuce of a hurry, 
though ! " 

" But you wanted to see me, Dick, what is it? " 
" Why, — egad, Bev, I 'm afraid it 's nothing much, 
after all. It 's that fellow Smivvle's fault, really." 
" Smiwle? " 

" Fellow actually called here yesterday — twice, Bev. 
Dev'lish importunate fellow y' know. Wanted to see you, 

— deuced insistent about it, too ! " 

" Well, from what I could make outj he seemed to think 

— sounds ridiculous so early in the morning, — but he 
seemed to fancy you were in some kind of — danger, Bev." 

" How, Dick? " 

" Well, when I told him he could n't see you because 
you had driven over to Hawkhurst, the fellow positively 
could n't sit still — deuced nervous, y' know, — though 
probably owing to drink. ' Hawkhurst ! ' says he, staring 
at me as if I were a ghost, my dear fellow, 4 yes,' says I, 
* and the door 's open, sir ! ' 'I see it is,' says he, sitting 
tight. ' But you must get him back ! ' \ Can't be done ! ' 
says I. ' Are you his friend? ' says he. ' I hope so,' says 

396 The Amateur Gentleman 

I. ' Then,' says he, before I could remind him of the door 
again, 6 then you must get him back — at once ! ' I asked 
him why, but he only stared and shook his head, and so 
took himself off. I '11 own the fellow shook me rather, 
Bev, — he seemed so very much in earnest, but, knowing 
where you were, I would n't have disturbed you for the 
world if it had n't been for the horses." 

" Ah, yes — the horses ! " said Barnabas thoughtfully, 
" How is your arm now, Dick? " 

" A bit stiff, but otherwise right as a trivet, Bev. But 
now — about yourself, my dear fellow, — what on earth 
possessed you to lay Carnaby such a bet? What a per- 
fectly reckless fellow you are ! Of course the money is as 
good as in Carnaby's pocket already, not to mention Chi- 
chester's — damn him ! As I told you in my letter, the 
affair has gone the round of the clubs, — every one is 
laughing at the ' Galloping Countryman,' as they call you. 
Jerningham came within an ace of fighting Tufton Green 
of the Guards about it, but the Marquis is deuced know- 
ing with the barkers, and Tufton, very wisely, thought 
better of it. Still, I 'm afraid the name will stick — ! " 

" And why not, Dick? I am a countryman, indeed 
quite a yokel in many ways, and I shall certainly gallop 
— when it comes to it." 

" Which brings us back to the horses, Bev. I 've been 
thinking we ought to get 'em away — into the country — 
some quiet place like — say, the — the ' Spotted Cow/ 

" Yes, the ' Spotted Cow ' should do very well ; espe- 
cially as Clemency — " 

" Talking about the horses, Bev," said the Viscount, 
sitting up in bed and speaking rather hurriedly, " I pro- 
test, since the rascally attempt on ' Moonraker ' last 
night, I 've been on pins and needles, positively, — nerve 
quite gone, y' know, Bev. If ' Moonraker ' did n't happen 
to be a horse, he 'd be a mare, — of course he would, — 
but I mean a nightmare. I 've thought of him all day 
and dreamed of him all night, oh, most cursed, y' know/ 

A Short, yet Important, Chapter 397 

Just ring for my fellow, will you, Bev? — I '11 get up, and 
we '11 go round to the stables together." 

" Quite unnecessary, Dick." 

"Eh? Why?" 

" Because I have just left there." 

" Are the horses all right, Bev? " 

" Yes, Dick." 

" Ah ! " sighed the Viscount, falling back among his 
pillows, " and everything is quite quiet, eh? " 

" Very quiet, — now, Dick." 

"Eh? " cried the Viscount, coming erect again, "Bev, 
what d' you mean?" 

" I mean that three men broke in again to-night — " 

" Oh, Lord ! " exclaimed the Viscount, beginning to 
scramble out of bed. 

" But we drove them off before they had done — what 
they came for." 

" Did you, Bev, — did you? ah, — but did n't you catch 
any of 'em? " 

" No ; but my horse did." 

" Your horse ? Oh, Beverley, — d' you mean he — " 

"Killed him, Dick!" 

Once more the Viscount sank back among his pillows 
and stared up at the ceiling a while ere he spoke again — 

" By the Lord, Bev," said he, at last, " the stable-boys 
might well call him < The Terror ' ! " 

" Yes," said Barnabas, " he has earned his name, Dick," 

" And the man was — dead, you say? " 

" Hideously dead, Dick, — and in his pocket we found 
this ! " and Barnabas produced a dirty and crumpled 
piece of paper, and put it into the Viscount's reluctant 
hand. "Look at it, Dick, and' tell me what it is." 

" Why, Bev, — deuce take me, it 's a plan of our 
stables ! And they 've got it right, too ! Here 's ' Moon- 
raker's ' stall marked out as pat as you please, and ' The 
Terror's,' but they 've got his name wrong — " 

" My horse had no name, Dick." 

" But there 's something written here." 

398 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Yes, look at it carefully, Dick." 

" Well, here 's an H, and an E, and — looks like 
'Hera,' Bev!" 

" Yes, but it is n't. Look at that last letter again, 

" Why, I believe — by God, Bev, — it 's an E ! " 

" Yes, — an E, Dick." 

" ' Here ' ! " said the Viscount, staring at the paper ; 
" why, then — why, Bev, — it was — your horse they 
were after ! " 

" My horse, — yes, Dick." 

" But he 's a rank outsider — he is n't even in the 
betting ! In heaven's name, why should any one — " 

" Look on the other side of the paper, Dick." 

Obediently, the Viscount turned the crumpled paper 
over, and thereafter sat staring wide-eyed at a name 
scrawled thereon, and from it to Barnabas and back 
again; for the name he saw was this: 

Ronald Barrymaine Esqjre. 

" And Dick," said Barnabas, " it is in Chichester's 



The whiskers of Mr. Digby Smivvle were in a chastened 
mood, indeed their habitual ferocity was mitigated to 
such a degree that they might almost be said to wilt, or 
droop. Mr. Digby Smivvle drooped likewise; in a word, 
Mr. Smivvle was despondent. 

He sat in one of the rickety chairs, his legs stretched 
out to the cheerless hearth, and stared moodily at the 
ashes of a long dead fire. At the opening of the door 
he started and half rose, but seeing Barnabas* sank back 

" Beverley," he cried, " thank heaven you 're safe back 
again — that is to say — " he went on, striving to speak 
in his ordinary manner, " that is to say, — I mean — - ah 
— in short, my dear Beverley, I 'm delighted to see you ! " 

" Pray what do you mean by safe? " 

" What do I mean ? " repeated Mr. Smivvle, beginning 
to fumble for his whisker with strangely clumsy fingers, 
" why, I mean — safe, sir, — a very natural wish, 
surely? " 

" Yes," said Barnabas, " and you wished to see me, I 

" To see you ? " echoed Mr. Smivvle, still feeling for 
his whisker, — " why, yes, of course — " 

" At least, the Viscount told me so." 

" Ah? Deuced obliging of the Viscount, — very! " 

"Are you alone?" Barnabas inquired, struck by Mr. 
Smivvle's hesitating manner, and he glanced toward the 
door of what was evidently a bedroom. 

" Alone, sir," said Mr. Smivvle, " is the precise and 

400 The Amateur Gentleman 

only word for it. You have hit the nail exactly — upon 
the nob, sir." Here, having found his whisker, Mr. 
Smiwle gave it a fieree wrench, loosed it, and clenching 
his fist, smote himself two blows in the region of the 
heart. " Sir," said he, " you behold in me a deserted and 
therefore doleful ruminant chewing reflection's solitary 
cud. And, sir, — it is a bitter cud, cursedly so, — wherein 
the milk of human kindness is curdled, sir, curdled 
most damnably, my dear Beverley ! In a word, my 
friend Barry — wholly forgetful of those sacred bonds 
which the hammer of Adversity alone can weld, — 
scorning Friendship's holy obligations, has turned his 
back upon Smiwle, — upon Digby, — upon faithful Dig, 
and — in short has — ah — hopped the mutual perch, 

" Do you mean he has left you ? " 

" Yes, sir. We had words this morning — a good many 
and, the end of it was — he departed — for good, and all 
on your account ! " 

"My account?" 

" And with a month's rent due, not to mention the 
Spanswick's wages, and she has a tongue ! ' Oh, Death, 
where is thy sting? ' " 

" But how on my account? " 

" Sir, in a word, he resented my friendship for you. 
Sir, Barrymaine is cursed proud, but so am I — as 
Lucifer ! Sir, when the blood of a Smiwle is once curdled, 
it 's curdled most damnably, and the heart of a Smiwle, 
— as all the world knows, — becomes a — an accursed 
flint, sir." Here Mr. Smiwle shook his head and sighed 
again. " Though I can't help wondering what the poor 
fellow will do without me at hand to — ah — pop round 
the corner for him. By the way, do you happen to re- 
member if you fastened the front door securely ? " 


" I ask because the latch is faulty, — like most things 
about here, — and in this delightful Garden of Hatton 
and the — ah — hot-beds adjoining there are weeds, sir, 

Barrymaine Speaks his Mind 401 

of the rambling species which, given opportunity — will 
ramble anywhere. Several of 'em — choice exotics, too ! 
have found their way up here lately, — one of 'em got in 
here this very morning after Barrymaine had gone, — 
characteristic specimen in a fur cap. But, as I was say- 
ing, you may have noticed that Chichester is not alto- 
gether — friendly towards you ? " 

" Chichester? " said Barnabas. " Yes ! " 

" And it would almost seem that he 's determined that 
Barrymaine shall — be the same. Poor fellow 's been very 
strange lately, — Gaunt 's been pressing him again worse 
than ever, — even threatened him with the Marshalsea. 
Consequently, the flowing bowl has continually brimmed 
— Chichester's doing, of course, — and he seems to con- 
sider you his mortal enemy, and — in short, I think it 
only right to — put you on your guard." 

" You mean against — Chichester? " 

" I mean against — Barrymaine ! " 

" Ah! " said Barnabas, chin in hand, " but why? " 

" Well, you '11 remember that the only time you met 
him he was inclined to be — just a 1-ee-tle — violent, 
perhaps ? " 

" When he attacked me with the bottle, — yes ! " sighed 
Barnabas, " but surely that was only because he was 
drunk? " 

" Y-e-s, perhaps so," said Mr. Smivvle, fumbling for 
his whisker again, " but this morning he — was n't so 
drunk as usual." 


" And yet he was more violent than ever — raved 
against you like a maniac." 

"But — why?" 

" It was just after he had received another of Jasper 
Gaunt's letters, — here it is ! " and, stooping, Mr. Smivvle 
picked up a crumpled paper that had lain among the 
ashes, and smoothing it out, tendered it to Barnabas. 
" Read it, sir, — read it ! " he said earnestly, " it will 
explain matters, I think, — and much better than I can. 

4<D2 The Amateur Gentleman 

Yes indeed, read it, for it concerns you too ! " So 
Barnabas took the letter, and this is what he read: 

" Dear Mr. Barrymaine, — In reply to your favor, 
re interest, requesting more time, I take occasion once 
more to remind you that I am no longer your creditor, 
being merely his agent, as Mr. Beverley himself could, 
and will, doubtless, inform you. 

" I am, therefore, compelled to demand payment within 
thirty days from date; otherwise the usual steps must 

be taken in lieu of same. 

" Yours obediently, 

" Jasper Gaunt." 

Now when Barnabas had read the letter a sudden fit 
of rage possessed him, and, crumpling the paper in his 
fist, he dashed it down and set his foot upon it. 

" A lie ! " he cried, " a foul, cowardly lie ! " 

" Then you — you did n't buy up the debt, Beverley? " 

" No ! no ! — I could n't, — Gaunt had sold already, 
and by heaven I believe the real creditor is — " 

" Ha ! " cried Smivvle, pointing suddenly, " the door 
was n't fastened, Beverley, — look there ! " 

Barnabas started, and glancing round, saw that the 
door was opening very slowly, and inch by inch; then, 
as they watched its stealthy movement, all at once a 
shaggy head slid into view, a round head, with a face 
remarkably hirsute as to eyebrow and whisker, and sur- 
mounted by a dingy fur cap. 

" 'Scuse me, gents ! " said the head, speaking hoarsely, 
and rolling its eyes at them, "name o' Barrymaine, — 
vich on ye might that be, now? " 

"Ha?" cried Mr. Smivvle angrily, "so you're here 
again, are you ! " 

" 'Scuse me, gents ! " said the head, blinking its round 
eyes at them, "name o' Barrymaine, — no offence, — 
vich? " 

" Come," said Mr. Smivvle, beginning to tug at his 
whiskers, — " come, get out, — d' ye hear ! " 

Barrymaine Speaks his Mind 403 

" But, axing your pardons, gents, — vich on ye might 
be — name o' Barrymaine?" 

"What do you want with him — eh?" demanded Mr. 
Smivvle, his whiskers growing momentarily more ferocious, 
" speak out, man ! " 

" Got a letter for 'im — leastways it 's wrote to 'im," 
answered the head, " 'ere 's a B, and a Nay, and a Nar, 
and another on 'em, and a Vy, — that spells Barry, don't 
it? Then, arter that, comes a M, and a — " 

" Oh, all right, — give it me ! " said Mr. Smivvle, 

" Are you name o' Barrymaine? " 

" No, but you can leave it with me, and I — " 

" Leave it? " repeated the head, in a slightly injured 
tone, "leave it? axing your pardons, gents, — but burn 
my neck if I do ! If you ain't name o' Barrymaine v'y 
then — p'r'aps this is 'im a-coming upstairs now, — and 
werry 'asty about it, too ! " And, sure enough, hurried 
feet were heard ascending; whereupon Mr. Smivvje uttered 
a startled exclamation, and, motioning Barnabas to be 
seated in the dingiest corner, strode quickly to the door, 
and thus came face to face with Ronald Barrymaine upon 
the threshold. 

" Why, Barry ! " said he, standing so as to block 
Barrymaine's view of the dingy corner, " so you 've come 
back, then? " 

" Come back, yes ! " returned the other petulantly, " I 
had to, — mislaid a letter, must have left it here, some- 
where. Did you find it? " 

" Axing your pardon, sir, but might you be name o' 
Barrymaine, no offence, but might you? " 

The shaggy head had slid quite into the room now, 
bringing after it a short, thick-set person clad after the 
fashion of a bargeman. 

" Yes ; what do you want ? " 

" Might this 'ere be the letter as you come back for, 
- — no offence, but might it ? " 

" Yes ! yes," cried Barrymaine, and, snatching it, he 

404 The Amateur Gentleman 

tore it fiercely across and across, and made a gesture as 
if to fling the fragments into the hearth, then thrust 
them into his pocket instead. " Here 's a shilling for 
you," said he, turning to the bargeman, " that is — 
D-Dig, 1-lend me a shilling, I — " Ronald Barrymaine's 
voice ended abruptly, for he had caught sight of Barnabas 
sitting in the dingy corner, and now, pushing past Smivvle, 
he stood staring, his handsome features distorted with 
sudden fury, his teeth gleaming between his parted lips. 

" So it 's — you, is it? " he demanded. 

" Yes," said Barnabas, and stood up. 

" So — you 're — back again, are you? " 

" Thank you, yes," said Barnabas, " and quite safe ! " 

" S-safe? " 

" As yet," answered Barnabas. 

" You are n't d-drunk, are you? " 

" No," said Barnabas, " nor are you, for once." 

Barrymaine clenched his fists and took a step towards 
Barnabas, but spying the bargeman, who now lurched 
forward, turned upon him in a fury. 

" What the d-devil d' you want? Get out of the way, 
d'ye hear? — get out, I say!" 

" Axing your pardon, sir, an' meaning no offence, but 
summat was said about a bob, sir — vun shilling ! " 

" Damnation ! Give the fellow his s-shilling, Dig, and 
then k-kick him out." 

Hereupon Mr. Smivvle, having felt through his pockets, 
slowly produced the coin demanded, and handing it to the 
bargeman, pointed to the door. 

" No, — see him downstairs — into the street, Dig. 
And you need n't hurry back, I 'm going to speak my 
mind to this f-fellow — once and for all! So l-lock the 
street door, Dig." 

Mr. Smivvle hesitated, glanced at Barnabas, shrugged 
his shoulders and followed the bargeman out of the room. 
As the door closed, Barrymaine sprang to it, and, turn- 
ing the key, faced Barnabas with arms folded, head 
lowered, and a smile upon his lips : 

Barrymaine Speaks his Mind 405 

" Now," said he, " you are going to listen to me — 
d' you hear? We are going to understand each other 
before you leave this room! D' you see? " 

" Yes," said Barnabas. 

" Oh ! " he cried bitterly, " I know the sort of c-crawl- 
ing thing you are, Gaunt has warned me — " 

" Gaunt is a liar ! " said Barnabas. 

" I say, — he 's told me, — are you listening? Y-you 
think, because you 've bought my debts, you 've bought 
me, too, body and soul, and — through me — Cleone ! 
Ah, but you have n't, — before that happens y-you '11 be 
dead and rotting — and I, and she as well. Are you 
listening? — she as well! You think you've g-got me — 
there beneath your foot — b-but you have n't, no, by God* 
you have n't — " 

" I tell you Gaunt is a liar ! " repeated Barnabas. " I 
could n't buy your debts because he had sold them already. 
Come with me, and I '11 prove it, — come and let me face 
him with the truth — " 

" The truth? You? Oh, I might have guessed you 'd 
come creeping round here to see S-Smivvle behind my 
back — as you do my sister — " 

" Sir ! " said Barnabas, flushing. 

"What — do you dare deny it? Do you d-dare deny 
that you have met her — by stealth, — do you? do youF 
Oh, I know of your secret meetings with her. I know 
how you have imposed upon the credulity of a weak- 
minded old woman and a one-armed d-dotard sufficiently 
to get yourself invited to Hawkhurst. But I tell you this 
shall stop, — it shall ! Yes, by God, — you shall give 
me your promise to c-cease your persecution of my sister 
before you leave this room, or — " 

" Or? " said Barnabas. 

" Or it will be the w-worse for you ! " 

" How? " 

« I _ I '11 k-kill you ! " 

" Murder me? " 

" It 's no m-murder to kill your sort ! * 

406 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Then it is a pistol you have in your pocket, there? " 

" Yes — l-look at it ! " And, speaking, Barrymaine 
drew and levelled the weapon with practised hand. " Now 
listen ! " said he. " You will s-sit down at that table there, 
and write Gaunt to g-give me all the time I need for your 
e-cursed interest — " 

" But I tell you — " 

"Liar!" cried Barrymaine, advancing a threatening 
step. " Liar, — I know ! Then, after you 've done that, 
— you will swear never to see or c-communicate with my 
sister again, or I '11 shoot you dead where you stand, — 
s-so help me God ! " 

" You are mad," said Barnabas, " I am not your 
creditor, and — " 

" Liar ! I know ! " repeated Barrymaine. 

" And yet," said Barnabas, fronting him, white-faced, 
^across the table, " I think — I 'm sure, there are four 
things you don't know. The first is that Lady Cleone 
has promised to marry me — some day — " 

" Go on to the next, liar ! " 

" The second is that my stables were broken into again, 
this morning, — the third is that my horse killed the man 
who was trying to hamstring him, — and the fourth is 
that in the dead man's pocket I found — this ! " And 
Barnabas produced that crumpled piece of paper whereon 
was drawn the plan of the stables. 

Now, at the sight of this paper, Barrymaine fell back 
a step, his pistol-hand wavered, fell to his side, and sink- 
ing into a chair, he seemed to shrink into himself as he 
stared dully at a worn patch in the carpet. 

" Only one beside myself knows of this," said Barnabas. 

" Well? " The word seemed wrung from Barrymaine's 
quivering lips. He lay back in the rickety chair, his 
arms dangling, his chin upon his breast, never lifting his 
haggard eyes, and, almost as he spoke, the pistol slipped 
from his lax fingers and lay all unheeded. 

" Not another soul shall ever know," said Barnabas 
earnestly, " the world shall be none the wiser if you will 

Barrymaine Speaks his Mind 407 

promise to stop, — now, — to free yourself from Chi- 
chester's influence, now, — to let me help you to redeem 
the past. Promise me this, and I, as your friend, will 
tear up this damning evidence — here and now." 

"And — if I — c-can't?" 

Barnabas sighed, and folding up the crumpled paper, 
thrust it back into his pocket. 

" You shall have — a week, to make up your mind. 
You know my address, I think, — at least, Mr. Smivvle 
does." So saying, Barnabas stepped towards the door, 
but, seeing the look on Barrymaine's face, he stooped 
very suddenly, and picked up the pistol. Then he un- 
locked the door and went out, closing it behind him. 
Upon the dark stairs he encountered Mr. Smivvle, who 
had been sitting there making nervous havoc of his 

" Gad, Beverley ! " he exclaimed, " I ought not to have 
left you alone with him, — deuce of a state about it, 'pon 
my honor. But what could I do, — as I sat here listening 
to you both I was afraid." 

" So was I," said Barnabas. " But he will be quiet now, 
I think. Here is one of his pistols, you 'd better hide it. 
And — forget your differences with him, for if ever a 
man needed a friend, he does. As for your rent, don't 
worry about that, I '11 send it round to you this evening. 

So Barnabas went on down the dark stairs, and being 
come to the door with the faulty latch, let himself out into 
the dingy street, and thus came face to face with the man 
in the fur cap. 

" Lord, Mr. Barty, sir," said that worthy, glancing 
up and down the street with a pair of mild, round eyes, 
" you can burn my neck if I was n't beginning to vorry 
about you, up theer all alone vith that 'ere child o' mine. 
For, sir, of all the Capital coves as ever I see, — 'e s s vun 
o' the werry capital-est." 


" Why," exclaimed Barnabas, starting, " is that you, Mr. 
Shrig? " 

" As ever vas, sir. I ain't partial to disguises as a 
rule, but circumstances bbleeges me to it now and then," 
sighed Mr. Shrig as they turned into Hatton Garden. 
" Ye see, I 've been keeping a eye — or as you might say, 
a fatherly ogle on vun o' my fambly, vich is the v'y and 
the v'erefore o' these 'ere v'iskers. Yesterday, I vas a 
market gerdener, vith a basket o' fine wegetables as no- 
body 'ad ordered, — the day afore, a sailor-man out o' 
furrin parts, as vos a-seeking and a-searchin' for a gray- 
'eaded feyther as did n't exist, — to-day I 'm a riverside 
cove as 'ad found a letter — a letter as I 'd stole — " 

" Stolen ! " repeated Barnabas. 

" Veil, let 's say borreyed, sir, — borreyed for pur- 
poses o' observation, — out o' young Barrymaine's 
pocket, and werry neatly I done it too ! " Here Mr. 
Shrig chuckled softly, checked himself suddenly, and 
shook his placid head. " But life ain't all lavender, sir, 
— not by no manner o' means, it ain't," said he dole- 
fully. " Things is werry slack vith me, — nothing in the 
murder line this veek, and only vun sooicide, a couple o' 
'ighvay robberies, and a 'sault and battery! You can 
scrag me if I know v'ot things is coming to. And then* 
to make it vorse, I 've jest 'ad a loss as veil." 

" I 'm sorry for that, Mr. Shrig, but — " 

" A loss, sir, as I shan't get over in a 'urry. You '11 
remember V'istlin' Dick, p'r'aps, — the leary, flash cove 

Mr. Shrig's Case Spoiled 409 

as you give such a leveller to, the first time as ever I 
clapped my day-lights on ye? " 

" Yes, I remember him." 

" Veil sir, 'e 's been and took, and gone, and got 'isself 
kicked to death by an 'orse ! " 

"Eh, — a horse?" exclaimed Barnabas, starting. 

" An 'orse, sir, yes. Vich I means to say is coming 
it a bit low down on me, sir, — sich conduct ain't 'ardly 
fair, for V'istlin' Dick vos a werry promising cove as 
Capitals go. And now to see 'im cut off afore 'is time, 
and in such a outrageous, onnat'ral manner, touches me 
up, Mr. Barty, sir, — touches me up werry sharp it do ! 
For arter all, a nice, strong gibbet vith a good long drop 
is qvicker, neater, and much more pleasant than an 'orse's 
'oof, — now ain't it? Still," said Mr. Shrig, sighing and 
shaking his head again, " things is alius blackest afore the 
dawn, sir, and — 'twixt you and me, — I 'm 'oping to 
bring off a nice little murder case afore long — " 


" Veil — let 's say — expecting, sir. Quite a bang up 
affair it '11 be too, — nobs, all on 'em, and there 's three 
on 'em concerned. I '11 call the murderer Number Vun, 
Number Two is the accessory afore the fact, and Number 
Three is the unfort'nate wictim. Now sir, from private 
obserwation, the deed is doo to be brought off any time 
in the next three veeks, and as soon as it 's done, v'y 
then I lays my right 'and on Number Vun, and my left 
'and on Number Two, and — " 

"But — what about Number Three?" inquired 

Mr. Shrig paused, glanced at Barnabas, and scratched 
his ear, thoughtfully. 

" V'y sir," said he at last, " Number Three vill be a 

" A what? " said Barnabas. 

" A corp, sir — a stiff — " 

" Do you mean — dead? " 

" Ah, — I mean werry much so ! n nodded Mr. Shrig. 

41 o The Amateur Gentleman 

" Number Three vill be stone cold, — somev'eres in the 
country it '11 'appen, I fancy, — say in a vood ! And the 
leaves '11 keep a-fluttering over 'im, and the birds '11 keep 
a-singing to 'im, — oh, Number Three '11 be comfortable 
enough, — 'e von't 'ave to vorry about nothink no more, 
it '11 be Number Vun and Number Two as '11 do the 
vorrying, and me — till I gets my 'ooks on 'em, and 
then — " 

" But," said Barnabas earnestly, " why not try to pre- 
vent it?" 

" Prewent it, sir? " said Mr. Shrig, in a tone of pained 
surprise. "Prewent it? Lord, Mr. Barty, sir — then 
vere vould my murder case be? Besides, I ain't so on- 
professional as to step in afore my time. Prewent it? 
No, sir. My dooty is to apprehend a man arter the 
crime, not afore it." 

" But surely you don't mean to allow this unfortunate 
person to be done to death? " 

" Sir," said Mr. Shrig, beginning to finger his ear 
again, " unfort'nate wictims is born to be — veil, let 's say 
— unfort'nate. You can't 'elp 'em being born wictims. 
I can't 'elp it, — nobody can't, for natur' vill 'ave 'er 
own vay, sir, and I ain't vun to go agin natur' nor 
yet to spile a good case, — good cases is few enough. 
Oh, life ain't all lavender, as I said afore, — burn my neck 
if it is ! " And here Mr. Shrig shook his head again, 
sighed again, and walked on in a somewhat gloomy silence. 

Now, all at once, as they turned into the rush and 
roar of Holborn, Barnabas espied a face amid the hurry- 
ing throng; a face whose proud, dark beauty there was 
no mistaking despite its added look of sorrow; and a 
figure whose ripe loveliness the threadbare cloak could not 
disguise. For a moment her eyes looked up into his, dark 
and suddenly wide, — then, quick and light of foot, she 
was gone, lost in the bustling crowd. 

But, even so, Barnabas turned and followed, striding 
on and on until at length he saw again the flutter of the 
threadbare cloak. And, because of its shabbiness, he 

Mr. Shrig's Case Spoiled 411 

frowned and hastened his steps, and because of the look: 
he had read in her eyes, he paused again, yet followed 
doggedly nevertheless. She led him down Holborn Hill 
past the Fleet Market, over Blackfriars Bridge, and so, 
turning sharp to the right, along a somewhat narrow 
and very grimy street between rows of dirty, tumble-down 
houses, with, upon the right hand, numerous narrow 
courts and alley-ways that gave upon the turgid river. 
Down one of these alleys the fluttering cloak turned sud- 
denl} T , yet when Barnabas reached the corner, behold the 
alley was quite deserted, save for a small and pallid urchin 
who sat upon a rotting stump, staring at the river, with 
a pallid infant in his arms. 

" Which way did the lady go? " inquired Barnabas. 
"Lady? " said the urchin, staring. 

" Yes. She wore a cloak, — a gray cloak. Where did 
she go? " and Barnabas held up a shilling. Instantly the 
urchin rose and, swinging the pallid infant to his ragged- 
hip, pattered over the cobbles with his bare feet, and with 
one small, dirty claw extended. 

" A bob ! " he cried in a shrill, cracked voice, " gimme 
it, sir ! Yus, — yus, — I '11 tell ye. She 's wiv Nick — 
lives dere, she do. Now gimme th' bob, — she 's in dere ! "" 
And he pointed to a narrow door at the further end of 
the alley. So Barnabas gave the shilling into the eager 
clutching fingers, and approaching the door, knocked 
upon the rotting timbers with the head of his cane. 

" Come in ! " roared a mighty voice. Hereupon Barna- 
bas pushed open the crazy door, and descending three 
steps, found himself in a small, dark room, full of the 
smell of leather. And here, its solitary inmate, was a 
very small man crouched above a last, with a hammer in 
his hand and an open book before him. His head was 
bald save for a few white hairs that stood up, fiercely 
erect, and upon his short, pugnacious nose he wore a 
pair of huge, horn-rimmed spectacles. 

" What 's for you, sir? " he demanded in the same 
great, fierce voice, viewing Barnabas over his spectacles 

412 The Amateur Gentleman 

with sharp, bright eyes. " If it 's a pair 
you '11 be wanting — " 

" It is n't," said Barnabas, "I — " 

" Or a fine pair o' dancing shoes — ? " 

" No, thank you, I want to — " 

" Or a smart pair o' bang up riding- jacks — ? " 

" No," said Barnabas again, " I came here to see - - " 

"You can't 'ave 'em! And because why?" demanded 
the little man, his fierce eyes growing fiercer as he stared 
at Barnabas from modish hat to flowered waistcoat, " be- 
cause I don't make for the Quality. Quality — bah ! If 
I 'ad my way, I 'd gillertine 'em all, — ah, that I would ! 
Like the Frenchies did when they revolutioned. I 'd cut 
off their 'eads ! By the dozen ! With j'y ! " 

" You are Nick, the Cobbler, I think? " 

"And what if I am? I 'd chop off their 'eads, I tell 
ye, — with j 'y and gusto ! " 

" And pray where is Clemency? " 

" Eh? " exclaimed the little cobbler, pushing up his 
horn spectacles, " 'oo did ye say? " 

" Where is the lady who came in here a moment ago ? " 

"Lady?" said the cobbler, shaking his round, bald 
head, " Lord, sir, your heyes 'as been a-deceiving of you ! " 

" I am — her friend ! " 

" Friend ! " exclaimed the cobbler, " to which I says — 
Hookey Walker, sir! 'Andsome gells don't want friends 
o' your kind. Besides, she ain't here — you can see that 
for yourself. Your heyes 'as been a-deceiving of you, — 
try next door." 

" But I must see her," said Barnabas, " I wish to help 
her, — I have good news for her — " 

" Noos? " said the cobbler, " Oh? Ah! Well go and 
tell your noos to someone else as ain't so 'andsome, — 
Mrs. Snummitt, say, as lives next door, — a widder, — re- 
spectable, but with only one heye, — try Mrs. Snummitt." 

" Ah, — perhaps she 's in the room yonder," said 
Barnabas, " anyhow, I mean to see — " 

" No ye don't ! " cried the little cobbler, seizing a crutch 

m y 




Barnabas espied a face amid the hurrying throng 

Page 410 


S TQ* 







Mr. Shrig's Case Spoiled 413 

that leant near him., and springing up with astonishing 
agility, " no ye don't, my fine gentleman, — she ain't for 
you, — not while I 'm 'ere to protect her ! " and snatching 
up a long awl, he flourished it above his head. " I 'm a 
cobbler, oh yes, — - but then I 'm a valiant cobbler, as 
valiant as Sir Bedevere, or Sir Lancelot, or any of 'em, 

— every bit, — come and try me ! " and he made a pass 
in the air with the awl as though it had been a two-edged 
sword. But, at this moment, the door of the inner room 
was pushed open and Clemency appeared. She had laid 
aside her threadbare cloak, and Barnabas was struck 
afresh by her proud, dark loveliness. 

" You good, brave Nick ! " said she, laying her hand 
upon the little cripple's bent shoulder, " but we can trust 
this gentleman, I know." 

" Trust him ! " repeated the cobbler, peering at Barna- 
bas, more particularly at his feet, " why, your boots is 
trustworthy — now I come to look at 'em, sir." 

" Boots? " said Barnabas.. 

" Ah," nodded the cobbler, " a man wears his character 
into 'is boots a sight quicker than 'e does into 'is face, 

— and I can read boots and shoes easier than I can print, 

— and that 's saying summat, for I 'm a great reader, I 
am. Why did n't ye show me your boots at first and have 
done with it? " saying which the cobbler snorted and sat 
down; then, having apparently swallowed a handful of 
nails, he began to hammer away lustily, while Barnabas 
followed Clemency into the inner room, and, being there, 
they stood for a long moment looking on each other in 

And now Barnabas saw that, with her apron and mob- 
cap, the country serving-maid had vanished quite. In her 
stead was a noble woman, proud and stately, whose clear, 
sad eyes returned his gaze with a gentle dignity ; Clemency 
indeed was gone, but Beatrix had come to life. Yet, when 
he spoke, Barnabas used the name he had known her by 

" Clemency," said he, " your father is seeking for you."* 

414 The Amateur Gentleman 

" My — father ! " she exclaimed, speaking in a whisper 
" You have seen — my father? You know him? " 

" Yes. I met him — not long ago. His name is Ralph 
Darville, he told me, and he goes up and down the country- 
side searching for you — has done so, ever since he lost 
you, and he preaches always Forgiveness and Forgetful- 
ness of Self!" 

" My father ! " she whispered again with quivering lips. 
" Preaching? " 

" He tramps the roads hoping to find you, Clemency, 
and he preaches at country wakes and fairs because, he 
told me, he was once a very selfish man, and unforgiving." 

"And — oh, you have seen him, you say, — lately?" 
she cried. 

" Yes. And I sent him to Frittenden — to the ' Spotted 
Cow.' But Clemency, he was just a day too late." 

Now when Barnabas said this, Clemency uttered a 
broken cry, and covered her face. 

" Oh, father ! " she whispered, " if I had only known, 
■ — if I could but have guessed ! Oh, father ! father ! " 

" Clemency, why did you run away? " 

" Because I — I was afraid ! " 

"Of Chichester?" 

" No ! " she cried in sudden scorn, " him I only — 
hate ! " 

" Then — whom did you fear ? " 

Clemency was silent, but, all at once, Barnabas saw 
a burning flush that crept up, over rounded throat and 
drooping face, until it was lost in the dark shadow of 
her hair. 

"Was it — the Viscount?" Barnabas demanded 

" No — no, I — I think it was — myself. Oh, I — I 
am very wretched and — lonely ! " she sobbed, " I want 
— my father ! " 

" And he shall be found," said Barnabas, " I promise 
you ! But, until then, will you trust me, Clemency, as — 
as a sister might trust her brother? Will you let me take 

Mr. Shrig's Case Spoiled 415 

you from this dreary place, — will you, Clemenc}? I — 
I '11 buy you a house — I mean a — a cottage — in the 
country — or anywhere you wish." 

" Oh, Mr. Beverley ! " she sighed, looking up at him 
with tear-dimmed eyes, but with the ghost of a smile 
hovering round her scarlet lips, " I thank you, — indeed, 
indeed I do, but how can I? How may I? " 

" Quite easily," said Barnabas stoutly, " oh quite — 
until I bring your father to you." 

" Dear, dear father ! " she sighed. " Is he much 
changed, I wonder? Is he well, — quite well?" 

" Yes, he is very well," answered Barnabas, " but you 

— indeed you cannot stay here — " 

" I must," she answered. " I can earn enough for my 
needs with my needle, and poor little Nick is very kind 

— so gentle and considerate in spite of his great, rough 
voice and fierce ways. I think he is the gentlest little man 
in all the world. He actually refused to take my money 
at first, until I threatened to go somewhere else." 

" But how did you find your way to — such a place 
as this?" 

" Milo brought me here." 

"The Viscount's little imp of a groom?" 

" Yes, though he promised never to tell — him where 
I was, and Milo always keeps his word. And you, Mr. 
Beverley, you will promise also, won't you? " 

" You mean — never to tell the Viscount of your where- 
abouts? " 

Clemency nodded. 

" Yes," said Barnabas, " I will promise, but — on con- 
dition that you henceforth will regard me as a brother. 
That you will allow me the privilege of helping you when- 
ever I may, and will always turn to me in your need. 
Will you promise me this, Clemency? " And Barnabas 
held out his hand. 

" Yes," she answered, smiling up into his earnest eyes, 
" I think I shall be — proud to — have you for a brother." 
And she put her hand into his. 

41 6 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Ah! so you 're a-going, are ye? " demanded the cob- 
bler, disgorging the last of the nails as Barnabas stepped 
into the dark little shop. 

" Yes," said Barnabas, " and, if you think my boots 
sufficiently trustworthy, I should like to shake your 

" Eh? " exclaimed the cobbler, " shake 'ands with old 
Nick, sir? But you 're one o' the Quality, and I 'ates the 
Quality — chop off their 'eads if I 'ad my way, I would ! 
and my 'and 's very dirty — jest let me wipe it a bit, — 
there sir, if you wish to ! and 'ere 's 'oping to see you 
again. Though, mark you, the Frenchies was quite right, 
— there 's nothing like the gillertine, I say. Good arter- 
noon, sir." 

Then Barnabas went out into the narrow, grimy alley, 
and closed the crazy door behind him. But he had not 
gone a dozen yards when he heard Clemency calling his 
name, and hastened back. 

" Mr. Beverley," said she, " I want to ask you — some- 
thing else — about my father — " 

" Yes," said Barnabas, as she hesitated. 

" Does he think I am — does he know that — though 
I ran away with — a beast, I — ran away — from him, 
also, — does he know — ? " 

" He knows you for the sweet, pure woman you are," 
said Barnabas as she fell silent again, " he knows the 
truth, and lives but to find you again — my sister ! " 
Now, when he said this, Barnabas saw within her tearful 
eyes the light of a joy unutterable; so he bared his head 
and, turning about, strode quickly away up the alley. 

Being come into the narrow, dingy street, he suddenly 
espied Mr. Shrig who leaned against a convenient post 
and stared with round eyes at the tumble-down houses 
opposite, while upon his usually placid brow he wore a 
frown of deep perplexity. 

" So you followed me? " exclaimed Barnabas. 

" V'y, sir, since you mention it, — I did take that 'ere 
liberty. This is a werry on-savory neighborhood at most 

Mr. Shrig's Case Spoiled 4^7 

times, an' the air 's werry bad for — fob-seals, sa}^, — and 
cravat-sparklers at all times. Sich things 'as a 'abit o' 
wanishing theirselves avay." Having said which, Mr. 
Shrig walked on beside Barnabas as one who profoundly 
meditates, for his brow was yet furrowed deep with 

" Why so silent, Mr. Shrig? " inquired Barnabas as 
they crossed Blackfriars Bridge. 

" Because I 'm vorking out a problem, sir. For some 
time I 've been trying to add two and two together, and 
now I 'm droring my conclusions. So you know Old Nick 
the cobbler, do you, sir? " 

" I did n't — an hour ago." 

" Sir, when you vos in his shop, I took the liberty o' 
peeping in at the winder." 

" Indeed? " 

" And I seen that theer 'andsome gal." 

"Oh, did you?" 

" I likewise 'eered her call your name — Beverley, I 
think? " 

"Yes, — well?" 

" Beverley ! " repeated Mr. Shrig. 

" Yes." 

" But your name 's — Barty ! " 

" True, but in London I 'm known as Beverley, Mr. 

" Not — not — the Beverley? Not the bang up Corin- 
thian? Not the Beverley as is to ride in the steeple- 
chase? " 

" Yes," said Barnabas, " the very same, — why? " 

" Now — dang me for a ass ! " exclaimed Mr. Shrig v 
and, snatching off the fur cap, he dashed it to the ground, 
stooped, picked it up, and crammed it back upon his 
head, — all in a moment. 

" Why — what 's the matter? " 

"Matter!" said Mr. Shrig, "matter, sir? Veil, vot 
vith your qviet, innocent looks and vays, and vot vith me 
a-adding two and two together and werry carefully mak- 

41 8 The Amateur Gentleman 

ing 'em — three, my case is spiled — won't come off, — - 
can't come off, — must n't come off ! " 

" What in the world do you mean? " 

" Mean, sir? I mean as, if Number Vun is the mur- 
derer, and Number Two is the accessory afore the fact, 

— then Number Three — the unfort'nate wictim is — 
vait a bit ! " Here, pausing in a quiet corner of Fleet 
Market, Mr. Shrig dived into his breast and fetched up 
his little book. " Sir," said he, turning over its pages 
with a questing finger, " v'en I borreyed that theer letter 
out o' young B.'s pocket, I made so free as to take a 
copy of it into my little reader, — 'ere it is, — jest take 
a peep at it." 

Then, looking where he pointed, Barnabas read these 
words, very neatly set down : 

" My Dear Barrymaine, — I rather suspect Beverley 
will not ride in the race on the Fifteenth. Just now he is 
at Hawkhurst visiting Cleone ! He is with — your sister ! 
If you are still in the same mind about a certain project, 
no place were better suited. If you are still set on trying 
for him, and I know how determined you are where your 
honor, or Cleone's, is concerned, the country is the place 
for it, and I will go with you, though I am convinced he 
is no fighter, and will refuse to meet you, on one pretext or 
another. However, you may as well bring your pistols, 

— mine are at the gun-smith's. — Yours always, 

" Wilfred Chichester." 

" So you see, sir," sighed Mr. Shrig, as he put away 
the little book, " my case is spiled, — can't come off, — 
mustn't come off! For if young B. is Number Vun, the 
murderer, and C. is Number Two, the accessory afore the 
fact, v'y then Number Three, the unfort'nate wictim is 

— you, sir, — you ! And you — " said Mr. Shrig, sigh- 
ing deeper than ever, " you 'appen to be my pal ! " 



Bright rose the sun upon the " White Hart " tavern that 
stands within Eltham village, softening its rugged lines, 
gilding its lattices, lending its ancient timbers a mellower 

This inn of the " White Hart " is an ancient structure 
and very unpretentious (as great age often is), and being 
so very old, it has known full many a golden dawn. But 
surely never, in all its length of days, had it experienced 
quite such a morning as this. All night long there had 
been a strange hum upon the air, and now, early though 
the hour, Eltham village was awake and full of an unusual 
bustle and excitement. And the air still hummed, but 
louder now, a confused sound made up of the tramp of 
horse-hoofs, the rumble of wheels, the tread of feet and 
the murmur of voices. From north and south, from east 
and west, a great company was gathering, a motley throng 
of rich and poor, old and young: they came by high road 
and by-road, by lane and footpath, from sleepy village 
and noisy town, — but, one and all, with their faces set 
towards the ancient village of Eltham. For to-day is the 
fateful fifteenth of July; to-day the great Steeplechase 
is to be run — seven good miles across country from point 
to point; to-day the very vexed and all-important ques- 
tion as to which horse out of twenty-three can jump and 
gallop the fastest over divers awkward obstacles is to be 
settled once and for all. 

Up rose the sun higher and higher, chasing the morn- 
ing mists from dell and dingle, filling the earth with his 
glory and making glad the heart of man, and beast, and 

42 o The Amateur Gentleman 

And presently, from a certain casement in the gable 
of the " White Hart," his curls still wet with his ablu- 
tions, Barnabas thrust his touzled head to cast an anxious 
glance first up at the cloudless blue of the sky, then down 
at the tender green of the world about, and to breathe 
in the sweet, cool freshness of the morning. But longest 
and very wistfully he gazed to where, marked out by small 
flags, was a track that led over field, and meadow, and 
winding stream, over brown earth newly turned by the 
plough, over hedge, and ditch, and fence, away to the 
hazy distance. And, as he looked, his eye brightened, 
his fingers clenched themselves and he frowned, yet smiled 
thereafter, and unfolding a letter he held, read as follows : 

" Our Dear Lad, — Yours received, and we are re- 
joyced to know you so successful so far. Yet be not over 
confident, says your father, and bids me remind you as 
a sow's ear ain't a silk purse, Barnabas, nor ever can be. 
Your description of horse reads well, though brief. But 
as to the Rayce, Barnabas, though you be a rider born, 
yet having ridden a many rayces in my day, I now offer 
you, my dear lad, a word of advice. In a rayce a man 
must think as quick as he sees, and act as quick as he 
thinks, and must have a nice judgment of payee. Now 
here comes my word of advice. 

" 1. Remember that many riders beat themselves by 
over-eagerness. Well — let 'em, Barnabas. 

" 2. Don't rush your fences, give your mount time, and 
steady him about twenty yards from the jump. 

" 3. Remember that a balking horse generally swerves 
to the left, Barnabas. 

" 4. Keep your eye open for the best take-offs and 

" 5. Gauge your payee, save your horse for raycing 
at finish. 

" 6. Remember it 's the last half-mile as counts, 

" 7. So keep your spurs till they 're needed, my lad. 

A Breakfast and a Kiss 421 

A rayce, Barnabas lad, is very like a fight, after all. 
Given a good horse it 's the man with judgment and cool 
head as generally wins. So, Barnabas, keep your temper. 
This is all I have to say, or your father, only that no 
matter how near you come to turning yourself into a 
fine gentleman, we have faith as it won't spoil you, and 
that you may come a-walking into the old * Hound ' one 
of these days just the same dear Barnabas as we shall 
always love and remember. 


" Natl. Bell. 
"Gon Barty." 

Now, as he conned over these words of Natty Bell, a 
hand was laid upon his shoulder, and, glancing round, he 
beheld the Viscount in all the bravery of scarlet hunting 
frock, of snowy buckskins and spurred boots, a little paler 
than usual, perhaps, but as gallant a figure as need be. 

" What, Bev! " he exclaimed, " not dressed yet? " 

" Why I 've only just woke up, Dick! " 

" Woke up ! D' you mean to say you 've actually — 
been asleep? " demanded the Viscount reproachfully. 
" Gad ! what a devilish cold-blooded fish you are, Bev ! 
Have n't closed a peeper all night, myself. Could n't, 
j 9 know, what with one deuced thing or another. So I 
got up, hours ago, went and looked at the horses. Found 
your man Martin on guard with a loaded pistol in each 
pocket, y' know, — deuced trustworthy fellow. The 
horses could n't look better, Bev. Egad ! I believe they 
know to-day is — the day ! There 's your ' Terror ' paw- 
ing and fidgeting, and ' Moonraker ' stamping and 
quivering — " 

" But how is your arm, Dick? " 

"Arm?" said the Viscount innocently. "Oh, — ah, 
to be sure, — thanks, couldn't be better, considering." 

"Are you — quite sure?" persisted Barnabas, aware 
of the Viscount's haggard cheek and feverish eye. 

" Quite, Bev, quite, — behold ! feel ! " and doubling his 

422 The Amateur Gentleman 

fist, he smote Barnabas a playful blow in the ribs. " Oh 5 
my dear fellow, it 's going to be a grand race though, — 
ding-dong to the finish ! And it 's dry, thank heaven* 
for ' Moonraker ' 's no mud-horse. But I shall be glad 
when we line up for the start, Bev." 

" In about — four hours, Dick." 

" Yes ! Devilish long time till eleven o'clock ! " sighed 
the Viscount, seating himself upon the bed and swinging 
his spurred heels petulantly to and fro. " And I hate to 
be kept waiting, Bev — egad, I do ! " 

"Viscount, do you love the Lady Cleone? " 

"Eh? Who? Love? Now deuce take it, Beverley, 
how sudden you are ! " 

" Do you love her, Dick? " 

" Love her — of course, yes — are n't we rivals? Love 
her, certainly, oh yes — ask my Roman parent ! " And 
the Viscount frowned blackly, and ran his fingers through 
his hair. 

" Why then," said Barnabas, " since you — honor me 
with your friendship, I feel constrained to tell you that 
she has given me to — to understand she will — marry me 
— some day." 

"Eh? Oh! Marry you? The devil! Oh, has she 
though ! " and hereupon the Viscount stared, whistled, 
and, in that moment, Barnabas saw that his frown had 

" Will you — congratulate me, Dick? " 

" My dear fellow," cried the Viscount, springing up, 
" with all my heart ! " 

" Dick," said Barnabas, as their hands met, " would you 
give me your hand as readily had it been — Clemency ? " 

Now here the Viscount's usually direct gaze wavered 
and fell, while his pallid cheek flushed a dull red. He 
did not answer at once, but his sudden frown was 

" Egad, Bev, I — since you ask me — I don't think I 


A Breakfast and a Kiss 423 

" Oh well, I suppose — you see — oh, I '11 be shot if I 

" You — don't love her, do you, Dick? " 

" Clemency? Of course not — that is — suppose I do 
— what then?" 

" Why then she 'd make a very handsome Viscountess, 

" Beverley," said the Viscount, staring wide-eyed, " are 
you mad? " 

" No," Barnabas retorted, " but I take you to be an 
honorable man, my Lord." 

The Viscount sprang to his feet, clenched his fists, then 
took two or three turns across the room. 

" Sir," said he, in his iciest tones, " you presume too 
much on my friendship." 

" My Lord," said Barnabas, " with your good leave I '11 
ring for my servant." Which he did, forthwith. 

" Sir," said the Viscount, pale and stern, and with 
folded arms, " your remark was, I consider, a direct re- 
flection upon my honor." 

" My Lord," answered Barnabas, struggling with his 
breeches, " your honor is surely your friend's, also ? " 

" Sir," said the Viscount, with arms still folded, and 
sitting very upright on the bed, " were I to — call you out 
for that remark I should be only within my rights." 

" My Lord," answered Barnabas, struggling with his 
shirt, " were you to call from now till doomsday — I 
shouldn't come." 

" Then, sir," said the Viscount, cold and sneering, " a 
whip, perhaps, — or a cane might — " 

But at this juncture, with a discreet knock, Peterby 
entered, and, having bowed to the scowling Viscount, pro- 
ceeded to invest Barnabas with polished boots, waistcoat 
and scarlet coat, and to tie his voluminous cravat, all with 
that deftness, that swift and silent dexterity which helped 
to make him the marvel he was. 

" Sir," said he, when Barnabas stood equipped from 
head to foot, " Captain Slingsby's groom called to say 

424 The Amateur Gentleman 

that his master and the Marquis of Jerningham are ex- 
pecting you and Viscount Devenham to breakfast at ' The 
Chequers ' — a little higher up the street, sir. Breakfast 
is ordered for eight o'clock." 

" Thank you, Peterby," said Barnabas, and, bowing 
to the Viscount, followed him from the room and down- 
stairs, out into the dewy freshness of the morning. To 
avoid the crowded street they went by a field-path behind 
the inn, a path which to-day was beset by, and wound 
between, booths and stalls and carts of all sorts. And 
here was gathered a motley crowd; bespangled tumblers 
and acrobats, dark-browed gipsy fortune-tellers and 
horse-coupers, thimble-riggers, showmen, itinerant musi- 
cians, — all those nomads who are to be found on every 
race-course, fair, and village green, when the world goes 
a-holiday making. Through all this bustling throng 
went our two young gentlemen, each remarkably stiff 
and upright as to back, and each excessively polite, 
yet walking, for the most part, in a dignified silence,, 
until, having left the crowd behind, Barnabas paused sud- 
denly in the shade of a deserted caravan, and turned to his 

" Dick ! " said he smiling, and with hand outstretched. 

" Sir? " said the Viscount, frowning and with eyes 

" My Lord," said Barnabas, bowing profoundly, " if I 
have offended your Lordship — I am sorry, but — " 

"But, sir?" 

" But your continued resentment for a fancied wrong 
is so much stronger than your avowed friendship for me, 
it would seem — that henceforth I — " 

With a warning cry the Viscount sprang forward and, 
turning in a flash, Barnabas saw a heavy bludgeon in the. 
air above him; saw the Viscount meet it with up-flung 
arm; heard the thud of the blow, a snarling curse; saw 
a figure dart away and vanish among the jungle of carts; 
saw the Viscount stagger against the caravan and lean, 
there, his pale face convulsed with pain. 

A Breakfast and a Kiss 425 

" Oh, Bev," he groaned, " my game arm, ye know. 
Hold me up, I — " 

" Dick ! " cried Barnabas, supporting the Viscount's 
writhing figure, " oh, Dick — it was meant for me ! Are 
you much hurt? " 

" No — nothing to — mention, my dear fellow. Comes 
a bit — sharp at first, y' know, — better in a minute or 

" Dick — Dick, what can I do for you? " 

" Nothing, — don't worry, Bev, — right as ninepence 
in a minute, y' know ! " stammered the Viscount, trying to 
steady his twitching mouth. 

" Come back," pleaded Barnabas, " come back and let 
me bathe it — have it attended to." 

"Bathe it? Pooh!" said the Viscount, contriving to 
smile, " pain 's quite gone, I assure you, my dear fellow. 
I shall be all right now, if — if you don't mind giving me 
your arm. Egad, Bev, some one seems devilish deter- 
mined you shan't ride to-day ! " 

" But I shall — now, thanks to you, Dick ! " 

So they presently walked on together, but no longer 
unnaturally stiff as to back, for arm was locked in arm, 
and they forgot to be polite to each other. 

Thus, in a while, they reached the " Chequers " inn, and 
were immediately shown into a comfortable sanded parlor 
where breakfast was preparing. And here behold Captain 
Slingsby lounging upon two chairs and very busily casting 
up his betting book, while the Marquis, by the aid of a 
small, cracked mirror, that chanced to hang against the 
wall, was frowning at his reflection and pulling at the 
folds of a most elaborate cravat with petulant fingers. 

" Ah, Beverley — here 's the dooce of a go ! " he ex- 
claimed, " that fool of a fellow of mine has actually sent 
me out to ride in a 6 Trone d' Amour ' cravat, and I 've 
only just discovered it! The rascal knows I always take 
the field in an ' Osbaldistone ' or ' Waterfall.' Now how 
the dooce can I be expected to ride in a thing like this! 
Most distressing, by Jove it is ! " 

426 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Eight thousand guineas ! " said the Captain, yawn- 
ing. " Steepish, b'gad, steepish! Eight thousand at ten 
to one — hum ! Now, if Fortune should happen to smile 
on me to-day — by mistake, of course — still, if she does, 
I shall clear enough to win free of Gaunt's claws for good 
and all, b'gad!" 

" Then I shall be devilish sorry to have to beat you, 
Sling, my boy ! " drawled the Marquis, " yes, doocid sorry, 
— still — " 

"Eh — what? Beat the ' Rascal,' Jerny? Not on 
your weedy ' Clinker,' b'gad — " 

" Oh, but dooce take me, Sling, you 'd never say the 
6 Rascal ' was the better horse? Why, in the first place, 
there 's too much daylight under him for your weight — 
besides — " 

" But, my dear Jerny, you must admit that your 
' Clinker ' 's inclined to be just — a le-e-etle cow-hocked, 
come now, b'gad? " 

" And then — as I 've often remarked, my dear Sling, 
the * Rascal ' is too long in the pasterns, not to 
mention — " 

"B'gad! give me a horse with good bellows, — round, 
d' ye see, well ribbed home — " 

" My dear Sling, if you could manage to get your 
4 Rascal ' four new legs, deeper shoulders, and, say, 
fuller haunches, he might possibly stand a chance. 
As it is, Sling, my boy, I commiserate you — but 
hallo! Devenham, what 's wrong? You look a little off 

" Well, for one thing, I want my breakfast," answered 
the Viscount. 

" So do I ! " cried the Captain, springing to his feet, 
" but, b'gad, Dick, you do look a bit palish round the gills, 
y' know." 

" Effect of hunger and a bad night, perhaps." 

"Had a bad night, hey, Dick? Why, so did I," said 
the Captain, frowning. " Dreamed that the ' Rascal ' 
fell and broke his neck, poor devil, and that I was run- 

A Breakfast and a Kiss 427 

ning like the wind — jumping hedges and ditches with 
Jasper Gaunt close at my heels — oh, cursed unpleasant, 
y'know! What — is breakfast ready? Then let's sit 
down, b'gad, I 'm famished ! " 

So down they sat forthwith and, despite the Viscount's 
arm, and the Marquis of Jerningham's cravat, a very 
hearty and merry meal they made of it. 

But lo ! as they prepared to rise from the table, voices 
were heard beyond the door, whereupon the Viscount sat 
up suddenly to listen. 

" Why — egad ! " he exclaimed, " I do believe it 's my 

" No, by heaven ! " said the Marquis, also listening, 
" dooce take me if it is n't my great-aunt — her Grace- 
less Grace, by Jove it is ! " 

Even as he spoke, the door opened and the Duchess 
swept in, all rustling silks and furbelows, very small, very 
dignified, and very imperious. Behind her, Barnabas saw 
a tall, graceful figure, strangely young-looking despite his 
white hair, which he wore tied behind in a queue, also his 
clothes, though elegant, were of a somewhat antiquated 
fashion; but indeed, this man with his kindly eyes and 
gentle, humorous mouth, was not at all like the Roman 
parent Barnabas had pictured. 

" Ah, gentlemen ! " cried the Duchess, acknowledging 
their four bows with a profound curtsy, " I am here to 
wish you success — all four of you — which is quite an 
impossible wish of course — still, I wish it. Lud, Captain 
Slingsby, how well you look in scarlet ! Marquis — my 
fan! Mr. Beverley — my cane! A chair? thank you, 
Viscount. Yes indeed, gentlemen, I 've backed you all — 
I shall gain quite a fortune if you all happen to win — 
which you can't possibly, of course, — still, one of you 
will, I hope, — and — oh, dear me, Viscount, how pale you 
are ! Look at him, Bamborough — it 's his arm, I know 
it is ! " 

"Arm, madam?" repeated the Viscount with an ad- 
mirable look of surprise, " does your Grace suggest — " 

428 The Amateur Gentleman 

But here the Earl of Bamborough stepped into the 
room and, closing the door, bowed to the company. 

" Gentlemen," said he, I have the honor to salute 
you ! Viscount — your most dutiful, humble, obedient 
father to command." 

" My Lord," answered the Viscount, gravely returning 
his father's bow, " your Lordship's most obliged and 
grateful son ! " 

" My dear Devenham," continued the Earl solemnly, 
" being, I fear, something of a fogy and fossil, I don't 
know if you Bucks allow the formality of shaking hands. 
Still, Viscount, as father and son — or rather son and 
father, it may perhaps be permitted us? How are you, 
Viscount? " 

Now as they clasped hands, Barnabas saw the Viscount 
set his jaw grimly, and something glistened upon his tem- 
ple, yet his smile was quite engaging as he answered: 

" Thank you, my Lord, — never better ! " 

" Yes," said his Lordship, as he slowly relinquished the 
Viscount's hand, " your Grace was right, as usual, — it is 
his arm ! " 

" Then of course he cannot ride, Bamborough — you 
will forbid it?" 

" On the contrary, madam, he must ride. Being a 
favorite, much money has changed hands already on his 
account, and, arm or no arm, he must ride now — he owes 
it to his backers. You intend to, of course, Horatio? " 

" My Lord, I do." 

" It 's your right arm, luckily, and a horseman needs 
only his left. You ride fairly well, I understand, Vis- 
count? " 

" Oh, indifferent well, sir, I thank you. But allow me 
to present my friend to your Lordship, — Mr. Beverley 
-7- my father ! " 

So Barnabas shook hands with the Viscount's Roman 
parent, and, meeting his kindly eyes, saw that, for all 
their kindliness, they were eyes that looked deep into the 
heart of things. 

A Breakfast and a Kiss 429 

" Come, gentlemen," cried the Duchess rising, " if you 
have quite finished breakfast, take me to the stables, for 
I 'm dying to see the horses, I vow I am. Lead the way, 
Viscount. Mr. Beverley shall give me his arm." 

So towards the stables they set forth accordingly, the 
Duchess and Barnabas well to the rear, for, be it re- 
marked, she walked very slowly. 

" Here it is, Barnabas," said she, as soon as the others 
were out of ear-shot. 

"What, madam?" 

" Oh, dear me, how frightfully dense you are, Barna- 
bas ! " she exclaimed, fumbling in her reticule. " What 
should it be but a letter, to be sure — Cleone's letter." 

" A letter from Cleone ! Oh, Duchess — " 

" Here — take it. She wrote it last night — poor child 
did n't sleep a wink, I know, and — all on your account, 
sir. I promised I 'd deliver it for her, — I mean the letter 

— that 's why I made Bamborough bring me here. So 
you see I 've kept my word as I always do — that is — 
sometimes. Oh, dear me, I 'm so excited — about the 
race, I mean — and Cleone 's so nervous — came and woke 
me long before dawn, and there were tears on her lashes 

— I know because I felt 'em when I kissed them — I mean 
her eyes. And Patten dressed me in such a hurry this 
morning — which was really my fault, and I know my 
wig 's not straight — and there you stand staring at it as 
though you wanted to kiss it — I mean Cleone's letter, 
not my wig. That ridiculous Mr. Tressider told Cleone 
that it was the best course he ever hoped to ride over — 
meaning ' the worst ' of course, so Cleone 's quite wretched, 
dear lamb — but oh, Barnabas, it would be dreadful if — 
if you were — killed — oh ! " And the Duchess shivered 
and turned away. 

" Would you mind ? So much, madam ? " 

"Barnabas — I never had a son — or a daughter — 

but I think I know just how — your mother would be 

feeling — now ! " 

" And I do not remember my mother ! " said Barnabas. 

43 o The Amateur Gentleman 

" Poor, poor Joan ! " sighed the Duchess, very gently. 
" Were she here I think she would — but then she was 
much taller than I, and — oh, boy, stoop — stoop down, 
you great, tall Barnabas — how am I ever to reach you 
if you don't? " 

Then Barnabas stooped his head, and the Duchess 
kissed him — even as his own mother might have done, 
and so, smiling a little tremulously, turned away. " There ! 
Barnabas," she sighed. " And now — oh, I know you are 
dying to read your letter — of course you are, so pray 
sir, — go back and fetch my fan, — here it is, it will serve- 
as an excuse, while I go on to look at the horses." And 
with a quick, smiling nod, she hurried away across the 
paddock after the others. Then Barnabas broke the seal 
of Cleone's letter, and — though to be sure it might have 
been longer — he found it all sufficient. Here it is : 

"The Palace Grange, 

" Eltham, 

" Midnight. 

" Ever Dearest, — The race is to-morrow and, be- 
cause I love you greatly, so am I greatly afraid for you. 
And dear, I love you because you are so strong, and 
gentle, and honorable. And therefore, here on my knees 
I have prayed God to keep you ever in his care, my 

" Cleone." 



Truly it is a great day for " The Terror," hitherto 
known as " Four-legs," and well he knows it. 

Behold him as he stands, with his velvet muzzle upon 
old Martin's shoulder, the while the under-grooms, his two- 
legged slaves, hover solicitously about him! Behold the 
proud arch of his powerful neck, the knowing gleam of his 
rolling eye, the satiny sheen of his velvet coat! See how 
he flings up his shapely head to snuff the balmy air of 
morning, the while he paws the green earth with a round, 
bepolished hoof. 

Yes, indeed, it is a great day for " The Terror," and 
well he knows it. 

" He looks very well, Martin ! " says Barnabas. 

" And 'e 's better than 'e looks, sir ! " nods Martin. 
" And they 're laying thirty to one ag'in you, sir ! " 

" So much, Martin? " 

" Ah, but it '11 be backed down a bit afore you get to 
the post, I reckon, so I got my fifty guineas down on you 
a good hour ago." 

" Why, Martin, do you mean you actually backed me 
— to win — for fifty guineas ? " 

" Why, y' see sir," said Martin apologetically, " fifty 
guineas is all I 've got, sir ! " 

Now at this moment, Barnabas became aware of a very 
shiny glazed hat, which bobbed along, among other hats 
of all sorts and shapes, now hidden, now rising again — 
very like a cock-boat in a heavy sea ; and, presently, sure 
enough, the Bo'sun hove into view, and bringing himself 

432 The Amateur Gentleman 

to an anchor, made a leg, touched the brim of his hat, 
and gripped the hand Barnabas extended. 

" Mr. Beverley, sir," said he, " I first of all begs leave 
to say as, arter Master Horatio his Lordship, it 's you as 
I 'd be j'yful to see come into port first, or — as you might 
say — win this 'ere race. Therefore and wherefore I have 
laid five guineas on you, sir, by reason o' you being you, 
and the odds so long. Secondly, sir, I were to give you 
this here, sir, naming no names, but she says as you 'd 

Hereupon the Bo'sun took off the glazed hat, inserted 
a hairy paw, and brought forth a single, red rose. 

So Barnabas took the rose, and bowed his head above 
it, and straightway forgot the throng and bustle about 
him, and all things else, yea even the great race itself 
until, feeling a touch upon his arm, he turned to find the 
Earl of Bamborough beside him. 

" He is very pale, Mr. Beverley ! " said his Lordship, 
and, glancing whither he looked, Barnabas saw the Vis- 
count who was already mounted upon his bay horse 
" Moonraker." " Can you tell me, sir," pursued the Earl, 
" how serious his hurt really is ? " 

" I know that he was shot, my Lord," Barnabas an- 
swered, " and that he received a violent blow upon his 
wounded arm this morning, but he is very reticent." 

Here the Viscount chanced to catch sight of them, and, 
with his groom at " Moonraker's " head, paced up to 

" Viscount," said his Lordship, looking up at his son 
with wise, dark eyes, " your arm is troubling you, I see." 

" Indeed, sir, it might be — a great deal worse." 

" Still, you will be under a disadvantage, for it will 
be a punishing race for horse and man." 

" Yes, sir." 

"And — you will do your best, of course, Horatio?" 

" Of course, sir." 

" But — Horace, may I ask you to remember — that 
your father has — only one son? " 

The Gentleman's Steeplechase 433 

" Yes, sir, — and, father, may I tell you that — that 
thoughtless though he may be, he never forgets that — he 
is your son ! " Saying which the Viscount leaned down 
from his saddle, with his hand stretched out impulsively, 
and, this time, his father's clasp was very light and gentle. 
So the Earl bowed, and turning, walked away. 

" He 's — deuced Roman, of course, Bev," said the Vis- 
count, staring hard after his father's upright figure, 
" but there are times when he 's — rather more — than 
human ! " And sighing, the Viscount nodded and rode off. 

" Only ten minutes more, sir ! " said Martin. 

" Well, I 'm ready, Martin," answered Barnabas, and, 
setting the rose in his breast very securely, he swung him- 
self lightly into the saddle, and with the old groom at 
" The Terror's " head, paced slowly out of the paddock 
towards the starting post. 

Here a great pavilion had been set up, an ornate con- 
trivance of silk and gold cords, and gay with flags and 
bunting, above which floated the Royal Standard of Eng- 
land, and beneath which was seated no less ornate a per- 
sonage than the First Gentleman in Europe — His Royal 
Highness the Prince Regent himself, surrounded by all 
that was fairest and bravest in the Fashionable and Sport- 
ing World. Before this pavilion the riders were being 
marshalled in line, a gallant sight in their scarlet coats, 
and, each and every, mounted upon a fiery animal every 
whit as high-bred as himself; which fact they manifested 
in many and divers ways, as — in rearing and plunging, 
in tossing of heads, in lashing of heels, in quivering, and 
snorting, and stamping — and all for no apparent reason, 
yet which is the prerogative of your thoroughbred all the 
world over. 

Amidst this confusion of tossing heads and manes, 
Barnabas caught a momentary glimpse of the Viscount, 
some way down the line, his face frowning and pale ; saw 
the Marquis alternately bowing gracefully towards the 
great, gaudy pavilion, soothing his plunging horse, and 
re-settling his cravat; caught a more distant view of 

434 The Amateur Gentleman 

Captain Slingsby, sitting his kicking sorrel like a centaur ; 
and finally, was aware that Sir Mortimer Carnaby had 
ridden up beside him, who, handsome and debonair, be- 
strode his powerful gray with a certain air of easy assur- 
ance, and laughed softly as he talked with his other 
neighbor, a thinnish, youngish gentleman in sandy whis- 
kers, who giggled frequently. 

"... very mysterious person," Sir Mortimer was say- 
ing, "nobody knows him, devilish odd, eh, Tressider? 
Tufton Green dubbed him the * Galloping Countryman,' 
— what do you think of the name? " 

" Could have suggested a better, curse me if I could n't, 
yes, Carnaby, oh damme ! Why not ' the Prancing 
Ploughman,' or 6 the Cantering Clodhopper '? " Here 
Sir Mortimer laughed loudly, and the thinnish, youngish 
gentleman giggled again. 

Barnabas frowned, but looking down at the red rose 
upon his breast, he smiled instead, a little grimly, as he 
settled his feet in the stirrups, and shortening his reins, 
sat waiting, very patiently. Not so " The Terror." 
Patient, forsooth! He backed and sidled and tossed his 
head, he fidgeted with his bit, he glared viciously this 
way and that, and so became aware of other four-legged 
creatures like himself, notably of Sir Mortimer's powerful 
gray near by, and in his heart he scorned them, one and 
all, proud of his strength and might, and sure of himself 
because of the hand upon his bridle. Therefore he snuffed 
the air with quivering nostril, and pawed the earth with an 
impatient hoof, — eager for the fray. 

Now all at once Sir Mortimer laughed again, louder 
than before, and in that same moment his gray swerved 
and cannoned lightly against " The Terror," and — 
reared back only just in time to avoid the vicious snap 
of two rows of gleaming teeth. 

" Damnation ! " cried Sir Mortimer, very nearly un- 
seated, " can't you manage that brute of yours ! " and he 
struck savagely at " The Terror " with his whip. But 
Barnabas parried the blow, and now — even as they stared 

The Gentleman's Steeplechase 435 

and frowned upon each other, so did their horses, the 
black and the gray, glare at each other with bared teeth. 

But, here, a sudden shout arose that spread and spread, 
and swelled into a roar; the swaying line of horsemen 
surges forward, bends, splits into plunging groups, and 
man and horse are off and away — the great Steeplechase 
has begun. 

Half a length behind Carnaby's gray gallops " The 
Terror," fire in his eye, rage in his heart, for there are 
horses ahead of him, and that must not be. Therefore 
he strains upon the bit, and would fain lengthen his stride, 
but the hand upon his bridle is strong and compelling. 

On sweeps the race, across the level and up the slope; 
twice Sir Mortimer glances over his shoulder, and twice 
he increases his pace, yet, as they top the rise, " The 
Terror " still gallops half a length behind. 

Far in advance races Tressider, the thinnish, youngish 
gentleman in sandy whiskers, hotly pressed by the Mar- 
quis, and with eight or nine others hard in their rear; 
behind these again, rides the Viscount, while to the right 
of Barnabas races Slingsby on his long-legged sorrel, 
with the rest thundering on behind. And now before 
them is the first jump — a hedge with the gleam of water 
beyond; and the hedge is high, and the water broad. 
Nearer it looms, and nearer — half a mile away ! a quar- 
ter ! less ! Tressider's horse rises to it, and is well over, 
with the Marquis hard on his heels. But now shouts are 
heard, and vicious cries, as several horses, refusing, swerve 
violently ; there is a crash ! a muffled cry — some one is 
down. Then, as Barnabas watckes, anxious-eyed, mindful 
of the Viscount's injured arm — " Moonraker " shoots 
forward and has cleared it gallantly. 

And now it is that " The Terror " feels the restraining 
bit relax and thereupon, with his fierce eyes ever upon the 
gray flanks of his chosen foe, he tosses his great head, 
lengthens his stride, and with a snort of defiance sweeps 
past Carnaby's gray, on and on, with thundering hoofs 
and ears laid back, while Barnabas, eyeing the hedge with 

436 The Amateur Gentleman 

frowning brows, gauges his distance, — a hundred yards { 
fifty ! twenty-five ! steadies " The Terror " in his stride 
and sends him at it — feels the spring and sway of the 
powerful loins, — a rush of wind, and is over and away, 
with a foot to spare. But behind him is the sound of a 
floundering splash, — another ! and another ! The air is 
full of shouts and cries quickly lost in the rush of wind 
and the drumming of galloping hoofs, and, in a while, 
turning his head, he sees Slingsby's " Rascal " racing close 

" Bit of a rasper, that, b'gad ! " bellows the Captain, 
radiant of face. " Thinned 'em out a bit, ye know, 
Beverley. Six of 'em — down and out of it b'gad ! Car- 
naby 's behind, too, — foot short at the water. Told you 
it would be — a good race, and b'gad — so it is ! " 

Inch by inch the great, black horse and the raking 
sorrel creep up nearer the leaders, and, closing in with 
the Viscount, Barnabas wonders to see the ghastly pallor 
of his cheek and the grim set of mouth and jaw, till, 
glancing at the sleeve of his whip-arm, he sees there a 
dark stain, and wonders no more. And the race is but 

"Dick!" he cried. 

"That you, Bev? " 

" Your arm, Dick, — keep your hand up ! " 

" Arm, Bev — right as a trivet ! " 

And to prove his words, the Viscount flourished his 
whip in the air. 

" Deuce take me ! but Jerningham 's setting a devilish 
hot pace," he cried. " Means to weed out the unlikely 
ones right away. Gad ! there 's riding for you ! — Tressi- 
der's 6 Pilot ' 's blown already — Marquis has n't turned 
a hair! " 

And indeed the Marquis, it would seem, has at last 
ceased to worry over his cravat, and has taken the lead, 
and now, stooped low in the saddle, gallops a good twelve 
yards in front of Tressider. 

" Come on Bev ! " cries the Viscount and, uttering a 

The Gentleman's Steeplechase 437 

loud " view hallo," flourishes his whip. " Moonraker " 
leaps forward, lengthens his stride, and away he goes fast 
and furious, filling the air with flying clods, on and on, 
— is level with Tressider, — is past, and galloping neck 
and neck with the Marquis. 

Onward sweeps the race, over fallow and plough, over 
hedge and ditch and fence, until, afar off, Barnabas sees 
again the gleam of water — a jump full thirty feet across. 
Now, as he rides with " The Terror " well in hand, Barna- 
bas is aware of a gray head with flaring nostrils, of a 
neck outstretched, of a powerful shoulder, a heaving flank, 
and Carnaby goes by. " The Terror " sees this too and, 
snorting, bores savagely upon the bit — but in front of 
him gallops Tressider's chestnut, and beside him races 
the Captain's sorrel. So, foot by foot, and yard by yard, 
the gray wins by. Over a hedge — across a ditch, they 
race together till, as they approach the water-jump, be- 
hold ! once more " The Terror " gallops half a length 
behind Sir Mortimer's gray. 

The Marquis and the Viscount, racing knee and knee, 
have increased their twelve yards by half, and now, as 
Barnabas watches, down go their heads, in go their spurs, 
and away go chestnut and bay, fast and faster, take off 
almost together, land fairly, and are steadied down again 
to a rolling gallop. 

And now, away races Carnaby, with Barnabas hard 
upon his left, the pace quickens to a stretching gallop, — 
the earth flies beneath them. Barnabas marks his take- 
off and rides for it — touches " The Terror " with his 
spur and — in that moment, Carnaby's gray swerves. 
Barnabas sees the danger and, clenching his teeth, swings 
" The Terror " aside, just in time; who, thus balked, yet 
makes a brave attempt, — leaps, is short, and goes down 
with a floundering splash, flinging Barnabas clear. 

Half-stunned, half-blinded, plastered with mud and 
ooze, Barnabas staggers up to his feet, is aware in a 
dazed manner that horses are galloping down upon him, 
thundering past and well-nigh over him ; is conscious also 

43 8 The Amateur Gentleman 

that " The Terror " is scrambling up and, even as he gets 
upon his legs, has caught the reins, vaulted into the saddle, 
and strikes in his spurs, — whereat " The Terror " snorts, 
rears and sets off after the others. And a mighty joy fills 
his heart, for now the hand upon his bridle restrains him 
no longer — nay, rather urges him forward ; and far in 
the distance gallop others of his kind, others whom he 
scorns, one and all — notably a certain gray. There- 
fore as he spurns the earth beneath him faster and faster, 
the heart of "The Terror" is uplifted and full of 
rej oicing. 

But, — bruised, bleeding and torn, all mud from heel 
to head, and with a numbness in his brain Barnabas rides, 
stooped low in the saddle, for he is sick and very faint. 
His hat is gone, and the cool wind in his hair revives 
him somewhat, but the numbness remains. Yet it is as 
one in a dream that he finds his stirrups, and is vaguely 
conscious of voices about him — a thudding of hoofs and 
the creak of leather. As one in a dream he lifts " The 
Terror " to a fence that vanishes and gives place to a 
hedge which in turn is gone, or is magically transfigured 
into an ugly wall. And, still as one in a dream, he is 
thereafter aware of cries and shouting, and knows that 
horses are galloping beside him — riderless. But on and 
ever on races the great, black horse — head stretched 
out, ears laid back, iron hoofs pounding — on and on, 
over hedge and ditch and wall — over fence and brook — 
past blown and weary stragglers — his long stride un- 
faltering over ploughland and fallowland, tireless, indomi- 
table — on and ever on until Barnabas can distinguish, 
at last, the horsemen in front. 

Therefore, still as one in a dream, he begins to count 
them to himself, over and over again. Yet, count how he 
will, can make them no more than seven all told, and he 
wonders dully where the rest may be. 

Well in advance of the survivors the Viscount is going 
strong, with Slingsby and the Marquis knee and knee 
behind; next rides Carnaby with two others, while 

The Gentleman's Steeplechase 439 

Tressider, the thinnish, youngish gentleman, brings up the 
rear. Inch by inch Barnabas gains upon him, draws level 
and is past, and so " The Terror " once more sees before 
him Sir Mortimer's galloping gray. 

But now — something is wrong in front, — there is a 
warning yell from the Marquis — up flashes the Captain's 
long arm, for " Moonraker " has swerved suddenly, unac- 
countably, — loses his stride, and falls back until he is 
neck and neck with " The Terror." Thus, still as one in a 
dream, Barnabas is aware, little by little, that the Vis- 
count's hat and whip are gone, and that he is swaying 
oddly in the saddle with " Moonraker's " every stride — 
catches a momentary glimpse of a pale, agonized face, 
and hears the Viscount speaking: 

"No go, Bev!" he pants. "Oh, Bev, I'm done! 
' Moonraker 's ' game, but — I 'm — done, Bev — arm, 
y' know — devilish shame, y' know — " 

And Barnabas sees that the Viscount's sleeve is all 
blood from the elbow down. And in that moment Bar- 
nabas casts off the numbness, and his brain clears again. 

" Hold on, Dick ! " he cries. 

" Can't Bev, — I — I 'm done. Tried my best — but 
— I — " Barnabas, reaches out suddenly — but is too far 
off — the Viscount lurches forward, loses his stirrups, 
sways — and " Moonraker " gallops — riderless. But 
help is at hand, for Barnabas sees divers rustic onlookers 
who run forward to lift the Viscount's inanimate form. 
Therefore he turns him back to the race, and bends all his 
energies upon this, the last and grimmest part of the 
struggle; as for " The Terror," he vents a snort of joyful 
defiance, for now he is galloping again in full view of 
Sir Mortimer Carnaby's foam-flecked gray. 

And now — it 's hey ! for the rush and tear of wind 
through the hair! for the muffled thunder of galloping 
hoofs ! for the long, racing stride, the creak of leather !. 
Hey ! for the sob and pant and strain of the conflict ! 

Inch by inch the great, black horse creeps up, but 
Carnaby sees him coming, and the gray leaps forward 

44-0 The Amateur Gentleman 

under his goading heels, — is up level with Slingsby and 
the Marquis, — but with " The Terror " always close 

Over a hedge, — across a ditch, — and down a slope 
they race together, — knees in, heads low, — to where, at 
the bottom, is a wall. An ancient, mossy wall it is, yet 
hideous for all that, an almost impossible jump, except in 
one place, a gap so narrow that but one may take it at 
a time. And who shall be first? The Marquis is losing 
ground rapidly — a foot — a yard — six ! and losing still, 
races now a yard behind Barnabas. Thus, two by two, 
they thunder down upon the gap that is but wide enough 
for one. Slingsby is plying his whip, Carnaby is rowelling 
savagely, yet, neck and neck, the sorrel and the gray 
race for the jump, with Barnabas and the Marquis 

" Give way, Slingsby ! " shouts Sir Mortimer. 

" Be damned if I do ! " roars the Captain, and in go 
his spurs. 

" Pull over, Slingsby ! " shouts Sir Mortimer. 

" No, b'gad ! Pull over yourself," roars the Captain. 
" Give way, Carnaby — I have you by a head ! " 

An exultant yell from Slingsby, — a savage shout from 
Sir Mortimer — a sudden, crunching thud, and the gal- 
lant sorrel is lying a twisted, kicking heap, with Captain 
Slingsby pinned beneath. 

" What, Beverley ! " he cries, coming weakly to his 
elbow, " well ridden, b'gad ! After him ! The ' Rascal ' 's 
done for, poor devil ! So am I, — it 's you or Carnaby 
now — ride, Beverley, ride ! " And so, as Barnabas 
flashes past and over him, Captain Slingsby of the Guards 
sinks back, and lies very white and still. 

A stake-fence, a hedge, a ditch, and beyond that a clear 
stretch to the winning-post. 

At the fence, Carnaby sees " The Terror's " black head 
some six yards behind; at the hedge, Barnabas has les- 
sened the six to three; and at the ditch once again the 
great, black horse gallops half a length behind the power- 

The Gentleman's Steeplechase 441 

ful gray. And now, louder and louder, shouts come down 
the wind! 

" The gray ! It's Carnaby's gray ! Carnaby's ' Clasher ' 
wins ! ' Clasher ' ! ' Clasher ' ! " 

But, slowly and by degrees, the cries sink to a murmur, 
to a buzzing drone. For, what great, black horse is this 
which, despite Carnaby's flailing whip and cruel, rowelling 
spur, is slowly, surely creeping up with the laboring gray? 
Who is this, a wild, bare-headed figure, grim and bloody, 
stained with mud, rent and torn, upon whose miry coat 
yet hangs a crushed and fading rose? 

Down the stretch they race, the black and the gray, 
panting, sobbing, spattered with foam, nearer and nearer, 
while the crowd rocks and sways about the great pavilion, 
and buzzes with surprise and uncertainty. 

Then all at once, above this sound, a single voice is 
heard, a mighty voice, a roaring bellow, such, surely, as 
only a mariner could possess. 

" It 's Mr. Beverley, sir ! " roars the voice. " Beverley ! 
Beverley — hurrah ! " 

Little by little the crowd takes up the cry until the air 
rings with it, for now the great, black horse gallops half 
a length ahead of the sobbing gray, and increases his 
lead with every stride, by inches — by feet ! On and 
on until his bridle is caught and held, and he is brought 
to a stand. Then, looking round, Barnabas sees the 
Marquis rein up beside him, breathless he is still, and 
splashed with mud and foam, but smiling and debonair 
as he reaches out his hand. 

" Congratulations, Beverley ! " he pants. " Grand 
race ! — I caught Carnaby — at the post. Now, if it 
had n't been for — my cravat — " But here the numb- 
ness comes upon Barnabas again, and, as one in a dream, 
he is aware that his horse is being led through the crowd 
- — that he is bowing to some one in the gaudy pavilion, a 
handsome, tall, and chubby gentleman remarkable for 
waistcoat and whiskers. 

" Well ridden, sir ! " says the gentleman. " Could n't 

44 2 The Amateur Gentleman 

have done it better myself, no, by Gad I could n't — ■ 
could I, Sherry?" 

" No, George, by George you could n't ! " answered a 

" Must take a run down to Brighton, Mr. — Mr. — ah, 
yes — Beverley. Show you some sport at Brighton, sir. 
A magnificent race, — congratulate you, sir. Must see 
more of you ! " 

Then, still as one in a dream, Barnabas bows again, sees 
Martin at " The Terror's " bridle, and is led back, 
through a pushing, jostling throng all eager to behold 
the winner, and thus, presently finds himself once more in 
the quiet of the paddock behind the " White Hart " inn. 

Stiffly and painfully he descends from the saddle, hears 
a feeble voice call his name and turning, beholds a hurdle 
set in the shade of a tree, and upon the hurdle* the long, 
limp form of Captain Slingsby, with three or four 
strangers kneeling beside him. 

** Ah, Beverley ! " said he faintly. " Glad you beat 
Carnaby, he — crowded me a bit — at the wall, y' know. 
Poor old * Rascal ' 's gone, b'gad — and I 'm going, but 
prefer to — go — out of doors, — seems more room for 
it somehow — give me the sky to look at. Told you it 
would be a grand race, and — b'gad, so it was ! Best I 
— ever rode — or ever shall. Eh — what, Beverley? No, 
no — must n't take it — so hard, dear fellow. B'gad it — 
might be worse, y' know. I — might have lost, and — 
lived — been deeper in Gaunt's clutches than ever, — then. 
As it is, I 'm going beyond — beyond his reach — for good 
and all. Which is the purest — bit of luck I ever had. 
Lift me up a little — will you, Beverley? Deuced fine 
day, b'gad ! And how green the grass is — never saw it 
so green before — probably because — never troubled to 
look though, was always so — deuced busy, b'gad ! — 
The poor old ' Rascal ' broke his back, Beverley — so did 
I. They — shot * The Rascal,' but — " 

Here the Captain sighed, and closed his eyes wearily, 
but after a moment opened them again. 

The Gentleman's Steeplechase 443 

" A fine race, gentlemen ! " said he, addressing the silent 
group, " a fine race well ridden — and won by — my 
friend, Beverley. I '11 warrant him a — true-blue, gentle- 
men. Beverley, I — I congratulate — " 

Once more he closed his eyes, sighed deeply and, with 
the sigh, Captain Slingsby of the Guards had paid his 
debts — for good and all. 



And now, the " Galloping Countryman " found himself 
famous, and, being so, made the further, sudden discovery 
that all men were his " warmest friends," nay, even among 
the gentler sex this obtained, for the most dragon-like 
dowagers, the haughtiest matrons, became infinitely gra- 
cious ; noble fathers were familiarly jocose; the proudest 
beauties wore, for him, their most bewitching airs, since 
as well as being famous, he was known to be one of the 
wealthiest young men about town ; moreover His Royal 
Highness had deigned to notice him, and Her Grace of 
Camberhurst was his professed friend. Hence, all this 
being taken into consideration, it is not surprising that 
invitations poured in upon him, and that the doors of the 
most exclusive clubs flew open at his step. 

Number Five St. James's Square suddenly became a 
rendezvous of Sport and Fashion, before its portal were 
to be seen dashing turn-outs of all descriptions, from 
phaetons to coaches ; liveried menials, bearing cards, 
embossed, gild-edged, and otherwise, descended upon St. 
James's Square in multi-colored shoals ; in a word, the 
Polite World forthwith took Barnabas to its bosom, which, 
though perhaps a somewhat cold and flinty bosom, made 
up for such minor deficiencies by the ardor of its embrace. 
By reason of these things, the legs of the Gentleman-in- 
Powder were exalted, — that is to say, were in a perpetual 
quiver of superior gratification, and Barnabas himself 
en j oyed it all vastly — for a week. 

At the end of which period behold him at twelve o'clock 
in the morning, as he sits over his breakfast (with the legs 

Chiefly of a Letter 44 j 

of the Gentleman-in-Powder planted, statuesque, behind 
his chair), frowning at a stupendous and tumbled pile of 
Fashionable note-paper, and Polite cards. 

" Are these all? " he inquired, waving his hand towards 
the letters. 

" Them, sir, is — hall ! " answered the Gentleman-in- 

" Then ask Mr. Peterby to come to me," said Barnabas, 
his frown growing blacker. 

" Cer-tainly, sir ! " Here the Gentleman-in-Powder 

posed his legs, bowed, and took them out of the room. 

Then Barnabas drew a letter from his pocket and began 

to read as follows: 

"The Gables, 

" Hawkhurst. 

" My Dear Barnabas, — As Cleone's letter looks very 
long (she sits opposite me at this precise moment writing 
to you, and blushing very prettily over something her 
pen has just scribbled — I can't quite see what, the table 
is too wide), mine shall be short, that is, as short as pos- 
sible. Of course we are all disappointed not to have seen 
you here since the race — that terrible race (poor, dear 
Captain Slingsby, — how dreadful it was!) but of course, 
it is quite right you should stay near the Viscount during 
his illness. I rejoice to hear he is so much better. I am 
having my town house, the one in Berkeley Square, put in 
order, for Cleone has had quite enough of the country, 
I think, so have I. Though indeed she seems perfectly con- 
tent (I mean Cleone) and is very fond of listening to the 
brook. O Youth! O Romance! Well, I used to listen 
to brooks once upon a time — before I took to a wig. 
As for yourself now, Barnabas, the Marquis writes to 
tell me that your cravats are ' all the thing,' and your 
w xistcoats ' all the go,' and that your new coat with the 
opened ciiff finds very many admirers. This is very well, 
but since Society has taken you up and made a lion of you, 
it will necessarily expect you to roar occasionally, just 
to maintain your position. And there are many ways of 

446 The Amateur Gentleman 

roaring, Barnabas. Brummell (whom I ever despised) 
roared like an insolent cat — he was always very precise 
and cat-like, and dreadfully insolent, but insolence palls, 
after a while — even in Society. Indeed I might give you 
many hints on Roaring, Barnabas, but — considering the 
length of Cleone's letter, I will spare you more, nor even 
give you any advice though I yearn to — only this : Be 
yourself, Barnabas, in Society or out, so shall I always 
subscribe myself 

" Your affectionate friend, 

" Fanny Camberhurst. 

" S p. m. — I have opened this letter to tell you that 
Mr. Chichester and Ronald called here and stayed an hour. 
Ronald was full of his woes, as usual, so I left him to 
Cleone, and kept Mr. Chichester dancing attendance on 
me. And, oh dear me! to see the white rage of the 
man! It was deliciously thrilling, and I shivered most 

" You sent for me, sir? " said Peterby, as Barnabas 
re-folded the letter. 

" Yes, John. Are you sure there is no other letter this 
morning from — from Hawkhurst? " 

" Quite, sir." 

" Yet the Duchess tells me that the Lady Cleone wroie 
me also. This letter came by the post this morning? " 

" Yes, sir." 

" And no other ? It 's very strange ! " 

But here, the Gentleman-in-Powder re-appeared to say 
that the Marquis of Jerningham desired to see Mr. Bev- 
erley on a matter of importance, and that nobleman pre- 
senting himself, Peterby withdrew. 

" Excuse this intrusion, my dear Beverley," said the 
Marquis as the door closed, " doocid early I know, but 
the — ah — the matter is pressing. First, though, how 's 
Devenham, you saw him last night as usual, I suppose? " 

" Yes," answered Barnabas, shaking hands, " he ought 
to be up and about again in a day or two." 

Chiefly of a Letter 447 

" Excellent," nodded the Marquis, " I '11 run over to 
Half-moon Street this afternoon. Is Bamborough with 
him still? " 

" No, his Lordship left yesterday." 

" Ha ! " said the Marquis, and taking out his snuff-box, 
he looked at it, tapped it, and put it away again. " Poor 
old Sling," said he gently, " I miss him damnably, y' know, 

" Marquis," said Barnabas, " what is it? " 

" Well, I want you to do me a favor, my dear fellow, 
and I don't know how to ask you — doocid big favor — 
ah — I was wondering if you would consent to — act for 
me? " 

" Act for you? " repeated Barnabas, wholly at a loss. 

" Yes, in my little affair with Carnaby — poor old 
Sling, d' you see. What, don't you twig, Beverley, 
have n't you heard? " 

" No ! " answered Barnabas, " you don't mean that you 
and Carnaby are going — to fight?" 

" Exactly, my dear fellow, of course ! He fouled poor 
old Sling at the wall, y' know — you saw it, I saw it, so 
naturally I mean to call him to account for it. And he 
can't refuse — I spoke doocid plainly, and White's was 
full. He has the choice of weapons, — pistols I expect. 
Personally, I should like it over as soon as possible, and 
anywhere would do, though Eltham for preference, Bev- 
erley. So if you will oblige me — " 

But here, once again the Gentleman-in-Powder knocked 
to announce : " Mr. Tressider." 

The thinnish, youngish gentleman in sandy whiskers 
entered with a rush, but, seeing the Marquis, paused. 
• " What, then — you 're before me, are you, Jerning- 
ham? " he exclaimed; then turning, he saluted Barnabas, 
and burst into a torrent of speech. " Beverley ! " he 
cried, " cursed early to call, but I 'm full o' news — burst- 
ing with it, damme if I 'm not — and tell it I must ! First, 
then, by Gad ! — it was at White's you '11 understand, and 
the card-room was full — crammed, sir, curse me if it 

448 The Amateur Gentleman 

was n't, and there 's Carnaby and Tufton Green, and 
myself and three or four others, playing hazard, d' ye see, 
— when up strolls Jerningham here. ■ It 's your play, 
Carnaby,' says I. ' Why then,' says the Marquis, — 
* why then,' says he, ' look out for fouling ! ' says he, cool 
as a cucumber, curse me ! 6 Eh — what ? ' cries Tufton, 
6 why — what d' ye mean ? ' 6 Mean ? ' says the Marquis, 
tapping his snuff-box, 6 1 mean that Sir Mortimer Carnaby 
is a most accursed rascal (your very words, Marquis, 
damme if they weren't). Highly dramatic, Beverley — 
could have heard a pin drop — curse me if you could n't ! 
End of it was they arranged a meeting of course, and I 
was Carnaby's second, but — " 

" Was ? " repeated the Marquis. 

" Yes, was, — for begad ! when I called on my man this 
morning he 'd bolted, damme if he had n't ! " 

" Gone? " exclaimed the Marquis in blank amazement. 

" Clean gone ! Bag and baggage ! I tell you he 's 
bolted, but — with all due respect to you, Marquis, only 
from his creditors. He was devilish deep in with Gaunt, 
I know, beside Beverley here. Oh damme yes, he only 
did it to bilk his creditors, for Carnaby was always game, 
curse me if he was n't ! " 

Hereupon the Marquis had recourse to his snuff-box 

" Under the circumstances," said he, sighing and shak- 
ing his head, " I think I '11 go and talk with our invalid — " 

" No good, my boy, if you mean Devenham," said Tres- 
sider, shaking his head, "just been there, — Viscount's 
disappeared too — been away all night ! " 

" What? " cried Barnabas, springing to his feet, 

" Damme if he has n't ! Found his fellow in the devil 
of a way about it, and his little rascal of a groom blubber- 
ing on the stairs." 

" Then I must dress ! You '11 excuse me, I know ! " said 
Barnabas, and rang for Peterby. But his hand was even 
yet upon the bellrope when stumbling feet were heard out- 

Chiefly of a Letter 44.9 

side, the door was flung wide, and the Viscount himself 
stood upon the threshold. 

Pale and haggard of eye, dusty and unkempt, he leaned 
there, then staggering to a chair he sank down and so lay 
staring at the floor. 

" Oh, Bev ! " he groaned, " she 's gone — Clemency 's 
gone, I — I can't find her, Bev ! " 

Now hereupon the Marquis very quietly took up his 
hat and, nodding to Barnabas, linked his arm in Tres- 
sider's and went softly from the room, closing the door 
behind him. 

" Dick ! " cried Barnabas, bending over him, " my dear 

" Ever since you spoke, I — I 've wanted her, Bev. All 
through my illness I 've hungered for her — the sound of 
her voice, — the touch of her hand. As soon as I was 
strong enough — last night, I think it was — I went to 
find her, to — to kneel at her feet, Bev. I drove down to 
Frittenden and oh, Bev — she was gone ! So I started 
back — looking for her all night. My arm bothered me 

— a bit, you know, and I did n't think I could do it. But 
I kept fancying I saw her before me in the dark. Some- 
times I called to her — but she — never answered, she 's 

— gone, Bev, and I — " 

" Oh, Dick — she left there weeks ago — " 

"What — you knew?" 

" Yes, Dick." 

" Then oh, Bev, — tell me where ! " 

"Dick, I — can't!" 

"Why — why?" 

" I promised her to keep it secret." 

" Then — you won't tell me? " 

" I can't." 

" Won't ! won't ! Ah, but you shall, yes, by God ! " 

" Dick, I — " 

" By God, but you shall, I say you shall — you must 

— where is she?" The Viscount's pale cheek grew sud- 
denly suffused, his eyes glared fiercely, and his set teeth 

45 o The Amateur Gentleman 

gleamed between his pallid lips. " Tell me ! " he 

" No," said Barnabas, and shook his head. 

Then, in that moment the Viscount sprang up and, pin- 
ning him with his left hand, swung Barnabas savagely to 
the wall. 

" She 's mine ! " he panted, " mine, I tell you — no one 
shall take her from me, neither you nor the devil himself. 
She 's mine — mine. Tell me where she is, — speak before 
I choke you — speak ! " 

But Barnabas stood rigid and utterly still. Thus, in 
a while, the griping fingers fell away, the Viscount stepped 
back, and groaning, bowed his head. 

" Oh, Bev," said he, " forgive me, I — I 'm mad I 
think. I want her so and I can't find her. And I had a 
spill last night — dark road you see, and only one hand, 
■ — and I 'm not quite myself in consequence. I '11 go — " 

But, as he turned toward the door, Barnabas interposed. 

" Dick, I can't let you go like this — what do you in- 
tend to do?" 

" Will you tell me where she is? " 

" No, but — " 

" Then, sir, my further movements need not concern 

" Dick, be reasonable, — listen — " 

" Have the goodness to let me pass, sir." 

" You are faint, worn out — stay here, Dick, and I — " 

" Thanks, Beverley, but I accept favors from my friends 
only — pray stand aside." 

" Dick, if you '11 only wait, I '11 go to her now — this 
moment — I '11 beg her to see you — - " 

" Very kind, sir ! " sneered the Viscount, " you are — 
privileged it seems. But, by God, I don't need you, or 
any one else, to act as go-between or plead my cause. 
And mark me, sir ! I '11 find her yet. I swear to you I '11 
never rest until I find her again. And now, sir, once and 
for all, I have the honor to wish you a very good day ! " 
saying which the Viscount bowed, and, having re-settled 

Chiefly of a Letter 451 

his arm in its sling, walked away down the corridor, very 
upright as to back, yet a little uncertain in his stride- 
nevertheless, and so was gone. 

Then Barnabas, becoming aware of the polite letters,. 
and cards, embossed, gilt-edged and otherwise, swept them 
incontinent to the floor and, sinking into a chair, set his 
elbows upon the table, and leaning his head upon his hands 
fell into a gloomy meditation. It was thus that the 
Gentleman-in-Powder presently found him, and, advancing 
into the room with insinuating legs, coughed gently to 
attract his attention, the which proving ineffectual, he 
spoke : 

66 Ex-cuse me, sir, but there is a — person downstairs, 
sir — at the door, sir ! " 

"What kind of person?" inquired Barnabas without 
looking up. 

" A most ex-tremely low person, sir — very common in- 
deed, sir. Won't give no name, sir, won't go away, sir. 
A very 'orrid person — in gaiters, sir." 

"What does he want? " said Barnabas, with head still 

" Says as 'ow 'e 'as a letter for you, sir, but — " 

Barnabas was on his feet so quickly that the Gentleman- 
in-Powder recoiled in alarm. 

" Show him up — at once ! " 

" Oh ! — cer-tainly, sir ! " And though the bow of the 
Gentleman-in-Powder was all that it should be, his legs 
quivered disapprobation as they took him downstairs. 

When next the door opened it was to admit the person 
in gaiters, a shortish, broad-shouldered, bullet-headed 
person he was, and his leggings were still rank of the 
stables; he was indeed a very horsey person who stared 
and chewed upon a straw. At sight of Barnabas he set 
a stubby finger to one eyebrow, and chewed faster than, 

" You have a letter for me, I think? " 


" Then give it to me." 

45 2 The Amateur Gentleman 

The horsey person coughed, took out his straw, looked 
at it, shook his head at it, and put it back again. 

" Name o' Beverley, sir? " he inquired, chewing fever- 

" Yes." 

Hereupon the horsey person drew a letter from his 
pocket, chewed over it a moment, nodded, and finally 
handed it to Barnabas, who, seeing the superscription, 
hurriedly broke the seal. Observing which, the horsey 
person sighed plaintively and shook his head, alternately 
chewing upon and looking at his straw the while Barnabas 
read the following: 

" Oh, Barnabas dear, when shall I see you again? I 
am very foolish to-day perhaps, but though the sun shines 
gloriously, I am cold, it is my heart that is cold, a 
deadly chill — as if an icy hand had touched it. And I 
seem to be waiting — waiting for something to happen, 
something dreadful that I cannot avert. I fear you will 
think me weak and fanciful, but, dear, I cannot help won- 
dering what it all means. You ask me if I love you. 
Can you doubt? How often in my dreams have I seen 
you kneeling beside me with your neck all bare and the 
dripping kerchief in your hand. Oh, dear Wood of An- 
nersley ! it was there that I first felt your arms about me, 
Barnabas, and I dream of that too — sometimes. But 
last night I dreamed of that awful race, — I saw you 
gallop past the winning post again, your dear face all cut 
and bleeding, and as you passed me your eyes looked into 
mine — such an awful look, Barnabas. And then it 
seemed that you galloped into a great, black shadow 
that swallowed you up, and so you were lost to me, and 
I awoke trembling. Oh Barnabas, come to me! I want 
you here beside me, for although the sky here is blue and 
cloudless, away to the north where London lies, there is a 
great, black shadow like the shadow of my dream, and 
God keep all shadows from you, Barnabas. So come to 
me — meet me to-morrow — there is a new moon. Come 

Chiefly of a Letter 453 

to Oakshott's Barn at 7.30, and we will walk back to the 
house together. 

" I am longing to see you, and yet I am a little afraid 
also, because my love is not a quiet love or gentle, but 
such a love as frightens me sometimes, because it has 
grown so deep and strong. 

" This window, you may remember, faces north, and 
now as I lift my eyes I can see that the shadow is still dark 
over London, and very threatening. Come to me soon, 
and that God may keep all shadows from you is the 
Prayer of « Your 

" Cleone." 

Now when he had finished reading, Barnabas sighed, and 
glancing up, found the horsey person still busy with his 
straw, but now he took it from his mouth, shook his head 
at it more sternly than ever, dropped it upon the carpet 
and set his foot upon it ; which done, he turned and looked 
at Barnabas with a pair of very round, bright eyes. 

"Now," said he, "1 should like to take the liberty o' 
axing you one or two questions, Mr. Barty, sir, — or as 
I should say, p'r'aps, Mr. Beverley." 

" What," exclaimed Barnabas, starting up, " it 's you 
again, Mr. Shrig? " 

" That werry same i-dentical, sir. Disguises again, ye 
see. Yesterday, a journeyman peg-maker vith a fine lot 
o' pegs as I did n't vant to sell — to-day a groom looking 
for a job as I don't need. Been a-keeping my ogles on 
Number Vun and Number Two, and things is beginning 
to look werry rosy, sir, yes, things is werry promising 

" How do you mean ? " 

" Veil, to begin vith," said Mr. Shrig, taking the chair 
Barnabas proffered, " you did n't 'appen to notice as that 
theer letter had been broke open and sealed up again, did 


" No," said Barnabas, staring at what was left of the 


454 The Amateur Gentleman 

" No, o' course you did n't — you opened it too quick 
to notice anything — but I did." 

" Oh, surely not — " 

" That theer letter," said Mr. Shrig impressively, " vas 
wrote you by a certain lady, vas n't it? " 

" Yes." 

" And I brought you that theer letter, did n't I? " 

" Yes, but — " 

" And 'oo do ye suppose give me that theer letter, to 
bring to you, — the lady? Oh no ! I '11 tell you 'oo give 
it me, — it vas — shall ve say, Number Two, the Acces- 
sory afore the fact, — shall ve call 'im C. ? Werry good ! 
Now, 'ow did C. or Number Two, 'appen to give me that 
theer letter ? I '11 tell you. Ven Number Vun and Num- 
ber Two, B. and C, vent down to Hawkhurst, I vent down 
to Hawkhurst. They put up at the ' Qveen's 'ead,' so I 
'angs about the ' Qveen's 'ead,' — offers myself as groom 
— I 'm 'andy vith an 'orse — got in the 'abit o' doing odd 
jobs for Number Vun and Number Two, and, last night, 
Number Two gives me that theer letter to deliver, and 
werry pertickler 'e vas as I should give it into your werry 
own daddle, 'e also gives me a guinea and tells as 'ow 'e 
don't vant me no more, and them 's the circumstances, sir." 

" But," said Barnabas in frowning perplexity, " I don't 
understand. How did he get hold of the letter? " 

" Lord, sir, 'ow do I know that ? But get it 'e did — 
'e likewise broke the seal." 

"But — why?" 

" Veil now, first, it 's a love-letter, ain't it ? " 

"Why — I—" 

" Werry good ! Now, sir, might that theer letter be 
making a app'intment — come? " 

" Yes, an appointment for to-morrow evening." 

" Ah ! In a nice, qviet, lonely place — say a vood ? " 

" Yes, at a very lonely place called Oakshott's Barn." 

" Come, that 's better and better ! " nodded Mr. Shrig 
brightly, " that 's werry pretty, that is — things is rosier 
than I 'oped, but then, as I said afore, things is alius 

Chiefly of a Letter 455 

blackest afore the dawn. Oakshott's Barn, eh? Ecod, 
now, but it sounds a nice, lonesome place — just the sort 
o' place for it, a — a — capital place as you might call 
it." And Mr. Shrig positively chuckled and rubbed his 
chubby hands together ; but all at once, he shook his head 
gloomily, and glancing at Barnabas, sighed deeply. " But 
you — von't go, o' course, sir? " 


" To Oakshott's Barn, to-morrow evening? " 

" Yes, of course," answered Barnabas, " the appoint- 
ment is for seven-thirty." 

" Seven-thirty ! " nodded Mr. Shrig, " and a werry nice 
time for it too ! Sunset, it '11 be about — a good light 
and not too long to vait till dark ! Yes, seven-thirty 's a 
werry good time for it ! " 

"For what?" 

" V'y," sa id Mr. Shrig, lowering his voice suddenly, 
" let 's say for < it ' ! " 

" ' It,' " repeated Barnabas, staring. 

" Might I jest take a peep at that theer letter, v'ere it 
says seven-thirty, sir? " 

" Yes," said Barnabas, pointing to a certain line of 
Cleone's letter, " here it is ! " 

" Ah," exclaimed Mr. Shrig, nodding and rubbing 
his hands again, " your eyes is good 'uns, ain't they, 

" Yes." 

" Then jest take a good look at that theer seven-thirty, 
vill you, sir — come, vot do you see ? " 

" That the paper is roughened a little, and the ink has 

" Yes, and vot else? Look at it a bit closer, sir." 

" Why," said Barnabas staring hard at the spot, " it 
looks as though something had been scratched out ! " 

" And so it has, sir. If you go there at seven-thirty, 
it von't be a fair lady as '11 be vaiting to meet you. The 
time 's been altered o' course — jest as I 'oped and 

456 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Ah ! " said Barnabas, slowly and very softly, and 
clenched his fist. 

" So now, d' ye see, you can't go — can ye? " said Mr. 
Shrig in a hopeless tone. 

" Yes ! " said Barnabas. 

"Eh? Vot — youvill?" 

" Most assuredly ! " 

" But — but it '11 be madness ! " stammered Mr. Shrig, 
his round eyes rounder than ever, " it '11 be fair asking to 
be made a unfort'nate wictim of, if ye go. O' course 
it 'ud be a good case for me, and good cases is few 
enough — but you must n't go now, it 'ud be madness ! " 

" No," said Barnabas, frowning darkly, " because I 
shall go — before seven-thirty, you see." 



Even on a summer's afternoon Oakshott's Barn is a deso- 
late place, a place of shadows and solitude, whose slumber- 
ous silence is broken only by the rustle of leaves, the trill 
of a skylark high overhead, or the pipe of throstle and 

It is a place apart, shut out from the world of life and 
motion, a place suggestive of decay and degeneration, and 
therefore a depressing place at all times. 

Yet, standing here, Barnabas smiled and uncovered his 
head, for here, once, SHE had stood, she who was for him 
the only woman in all the world. So having paused awhile 
to look about him, he presently went on into the gloom 
of the barn, a gloom damp and musty with years and 

Now glancing sharply this way and that, Barnabas 
espied a ladder or rather the mouldering remains of one, 
that led up from the darkest corner to a loft; up this 
ladder, with all due care, he mounted, and thus found 
himself in what had once served as a hay-loft, for in one 
corner there yet remained a rotting pile. It was much 
lighter up here, for in many places the thatch was quite 
gone, while at one end of the loft was a square opening 
or window. He was in the act of looking from this win- 
dow when, all at once he started and crouched down, for, 
upon the stillness broke a sudden sound, — the rustling 
of leaves, and a voice speaking in loud, querulous tones. 
And in a while as he watched, screening himself from all 
chance of observation, Barnabas saw two figures emerge 
into the clearing and advance towards the barn. 

458 The Amateur Gentleman 

" I tell you C-Chichester, it will be either him or m-me ! " 

" If he — condescends to fight you, my dear Ronald." 

" C-condescend? " cried Barrymaine, and it needed but 
a glance at his flushed cheek and swaying figure to see 
that he had been drinking more heavily than usual. 
" C-condescend, damn his insolence! Condescend, will he? 
I '11 give him no chance for his c-cursed condescension, I 
— I tell you, Chichester, I '11 — " 

" But you can't make a man fight, Ronald." 

" Can't I? Why then if he won't fight I '11 — " 

" Hush ! don't speak so loud ! " 

" Well, I will, Chichester, — s-so help me God, I will ! " 

" Will — what, Ronald? " 

" W-wait and see! " 

" You don't mean — murder, Ronald? " 

"I didn't s-say so, d-did I?" 

" Of course not, my dear Barrymaine, but — shall I 
take the pistols? " And Mr. Chichester stretched out his 
hand towards a flat, oblong box that Barrymaine carried 
clutched beneath his arm. " Better give them to me, 

« No, — w-why should I? " 

" Well, — in your present mood — " 

"I — I 'm not — d-drunk, — damme, I 'm not, I tell 
you ! And I '11 give the f- fellow every chance — honorable 

" Then, if he refuses to fight you, as of course he will, 
you '11 let him go to — ah — make love to Cleone? " 

" No, by God ! " cried Barrymaine in a sudden, wild 
fury, " I-I '11 sh-shoot him first! " 

"Kill him?" 

"Yes, k-killhim!" 

" Oh no you won't, Ronald, for two reasons. First of 
all, it would be murder — ! " 

" Murder ! " Barrymaine repeated, " so it would — - 
murder ! Yes, by God ! " 

" And secondly, you have n't the nerve. Though he has 
clandestine meetings with your sister, though he crush 

Happenings at Oakshott's Barn 459 

you into the mud, trample you under his feet, throw you 
into a debtor's prison to rot out your days — though 
he ruin you body and soul, and compromise your sister's 
honor — still you 'd never — murder him, Ronald, you 
could n't, you have n't the heart, because it would be — 
murder ! " 

Mr. Chichester's voice was low, yet each incisive, quick- 
spoken word reached Barnabas, while upon Barrymaine 
their effect was demoniac. Dropping his pistol-case, he 
threw up wild arms and shook his clenched fists in the 

" Damn him ! " he cried, " damn him ! B-bury me in a 
debtor's prison, will he? Foul my sister's honor w-will he? 
Never ! never ! I tell you I '11 kill him first ! " 

" Murder him, Ronald? " 

" Murder? I t-tell you it 's no murder to kill his sort. 
G-give me the pistols." 

" Hush ! Come into the barn." 

"No. W-whatfor?" 

" Well, the time is getting on, Ronald, — nearly seven 
o'clock, and your ardent lovers are usually before their 
time. Come into the barn." 

" N-no, — devilish dark hole ! " 

" But — he '11 see you here ! " 

" What if he does, can't g-get away from me, — 
better f-for it out here — lighter." 

" What do you mean? Better — for what? " 

" The m-meeting." 

" What — you mean to try and make him fight, do 
you? " 

" Of course — try that way first. Give him a ch-chance, 
you know, — c-can't shoot him down on s-sight." 

" Ah-h ! " said Mr. Chichester, very slowly, " you can't 
shoot him on sight — of course you can't. I see." 

"What? W-what d'ye see? Devilish dark hole in 

" All the better, Ronald, — think of his surprise when 
instead of finding an armful of warm loveliness waiting for 

460 The Amateur Gentleman 

him in the shadows, he finds the avenging brother! Come 
into the shadows, Ronald." 

" All right, — yes, the shadow. Instead of the sister, 
the b-brother — yes, by God ! " 

Now the flooring of the loft where Barnabas lay was 
full of wide cracks and fissures, for the boards had warped 
by reason of many years of rain and sun; thus, lying at 
full length, Barnabas saw them below, Barrymaine leaning 
against the crumbling wall, while Mr. Chichester stooped 
above the open duelling-case. 

"What — they 're loaded are they?" said he. 

" Of c-course ! " 

" They 're handsome tools, Ronald, and with your mono- 
gram, I see ! " 

"Yes. Is your f -flask empty, Chichester? " 

" No, I think not," answered Mr. Chichester, still stoop- 
ing above the pistol in his hand. 

" Then give it me, will you — m-my throat 's on fire." 

" Surely you've had enough, Ronald? Did you know 
this flint was loose? " 

" I 'm n-not drunk, I t-tell you. I know when I 've had 
enough, g-give me some brandy, Chit, I know there 's 
p-precious little left." 

" Why then, fix this flint first, Ronald, I see you have 
all the necessary tools here." So saying, Mr. Chichester 
rose and began feeling through his pockets, while Barry- 
maine, grumbling, stooped above the pistol-case. Then,, 
even as he did so, Mr. Chichester drew out a silver flask, 
unscrewed it, and thereafter made a certain quick, stealthy 
gesture behind his companion's back, which done, he 
screwed up the flask again, shook it, and, as Barrymaine 
rose, held it out to him: 

" Yes, I 'm afraid there 's very little left, Ronald," said 
he. With a murmur of thanks Barrymaine took the flask 
and, setting it to his lips, drained it at a gulp, and handed 
it back. 

" Gad, Chichester ! " he exclaimed, " it tastes damnably 
of the f -flask — faugh ! What time is it? " 

Happenings at Oakshott's Barn 461 

" A quarter to seven ! " 

" Th-three quarters of an hour to wait ! " 

" It will soon pass, Ronald, besides, he 's sure to be 

" Hope so ! But I — I think I '11 s-sit down." 

" Well, the floor 's dry, though dirty." 

"D-dirty? So it is, but beggars can't be c-choosers 
and — dev'lish drowsy place, this ! — I 'm a b-beggar — 
you know t-that, and — pah ! I think I 'm l-losing my — 
taste for brandy — " 

" Really, Ronald? I 've thought you seemed over fond 
of it — especially lately." 

" No — no!" answered Barrymaine, speaking in a 
thick, indistinct voice and rocking unsteadily upon his 
heels. " I 'm not — n-not drunk, only — dev'lish sleepy \ " 
and swaying to the wall he leaned there with head 

" Then you 'd better — lie down, Ronald." 

" Yes, I '11 — lie down, dev'lish — drowsy p-place — lie 
down," mumbled Barrymaine, suiting the action to the 
word; yet after lying down full length, he must needs 
struggle up to his elbow again to blink at Mr. Chichester, 
heavy eyed and with one hand to his wrinkling brow. 
" Wha-what w-was it we — came for? Oh y-yes — I know 
■ — Bev'ley, of course ! You '11 w-wake me — when he 
c-comes? " 

" I '11 wake you, Ronald." 

" S-such a c-cursed — drowsy — " Barrymaine sank 
down upon his side, rolled over upon his back, threw wide 
his arms, and so lay, breathing stertorously. 

Then Mr. Chichester smiled, and coming beside him, 
looked down upon his helpless form and flushed face and, 
smiling still, spoke in his soft, gentle voice: 

" Are you asleep, Ronald? " he inquired, and stirred 
Barrymaine lightly with his foot, but, feeling him so help- 
less, the stirring foot grew slowly more vicious. " Oh 
Ronald," he murmured, " what a fool you are ! what a 
drunken, sottish fool you are. So you 'd give him a chance, 

462 The Amateur Gentleman 

would you? Ah, but you mustn't, Ronald, you shan't, 
for your sake and my sake. My hand is steadier than 
yours, so sleep, my dear Ronald, and wake to find that 
you have rid us of our good, young Samaritan — once and 
for all, and then — hey for Cleone, and no more dread of 
the Future. Sleep on, you swinish sot ! " 

Mr. Chichester's voice was as soft as ever, but, as he 
turned away, the sleeping youth started and groaned be- 
neath the sudden movement of that vicious foot. 

And now Mr. Chichester stooped, and taking the pis- 
tols, one by one, examined flint and priming with attentive 
eye, which done, he crossed to a darkened window and, 
bursting open the rotting shutter, knelt and levelled 
one of the weapons, steadying his wrist upon the sill; 
then, nodding as though satisfied, he laid the pistols 
upon the floor within easy reach, and drew out his 

Slowly the sun declined, and slowly the shadows length- 
ened about Oakshott's Barn, as they had done many and 
many a time before; a rabbit darted across the clearing, 
a blackbird called to his mate in the thicket, but save for 
this, nothing stirred; a great quiet was upon the place, 
a stillness so profound that Barnabas could distinctly hear 
the scutter of a rat in the shadows behind him, and the 
slow, heavy breathing of the sleeper down below. And ever 
that crouching figure knelt beside the broken shutter, very 
silent, very still, and very patient. 

But all at once, as he watched, Barnabas saw the rigid 
figure grow suddenly alert, saw the right arm raised 
slowly, stealthily, saw the pistol gleam as it was levelled 
across the sill ; for now, upon the quiet rose a sound faint 
and far, yet that grew and ever grew, the on-coming rustle 
of leaves. 

Then, even as Barnabas stared down wide-eyed, the 
rigid figure started, the deadly pistol-hand wavered, was 
snatched back, and Mr. Chichester leapt to his feet. He 
stood a moment hesitating as one at a sudden loss, then 
crossing to the unconscious form of Barrymaine, he set 

Happenings at Oakshott's Barn 463 

the pistol under his lax hand, turned, and vanished into 
the shadow. 

Thereafter, from the rear of the barn, came the sound 
of a blow and the creak of a rusty hinge, quickly followed 
by a rustle of leaves that grew fainter and fainter, and so 
was presently gone. Then Barnabas rose, and coming to 
the window, peered cautiously out, and there, standing 
before the barn surveying its dilapidation with round, 
approving eyes, his nobbly stick beneath his arm, his 
high-crowned, broad-brimmed hat upon his head, was Mr. 



Surprise and something very like disappointment were 
in Mr. Shrig's look as Barnabas stepped out from the 
yawning doorway of the barn. 

" V'y, sir," said he, consulting a large-faced watch. 
" V'y, Mr. Beverley, it 's eggs-actly tventy minutes arter 
the time for it ! " 

" Yes," said Barnabas. 

" And you — ain't shot, then? " 

" No, thank heaven." 

" Nor even — vinged ? " 

" Nor even winged, Mr. Shrig." 

" Fate," said Mr. Shrig, shaking a dejected head at 
him, " Fate is a werry wexed problem, sir ! 'Ere 's you 
now, Number Three, as I might say, the unfort'nate wic- 
tim as was to be — 'ere you are a-valking up to Fate 
axing to be made a corp', and vot do you get? not so 
much as a scrat — not a westige of a scrat, v'ile another 
unfort'nate wictim vill run avay from Fate, run? ah! 
'eaven 's 'ard! and werry nat'ral too! and vot does 'e get? 
'e gets made a corp' afore 'e knows it. No, sir, Fate 's a 
werry wexed problem, sir, and I don't understand it, no, 
nor ever shall." 

" But this was very simple," said Barnabas, slipping 
his hand in Mr. Shrig's arm, and leading him away from 
the barn, " very simple indeed, I got here before they 
came, and hid in the loft. Then, while they were wait- 
ing for me down below, you came and frightened them 

" Ah ! So they meant business, did they? " 

The Gathering of the Shadows 465 

" Yes," said Barnabas, nodding grimly, " they certainly 
meant business, — especially Mr. Chich — " 

" Ssh ! " said Mr. Shrig, glancing round, " call 'im 
Number Two. Sir, Number Two is a extra-special, super- 
fine, over-weight specimen, 'e is. I 've knowed a many 
* Capitals ' in my time, but I never knowed such a Capital 
o' Capital Coyes as 'im. Sir, Vistling Dick vas a inner- 
cent, smiling babe, and young B. is a snowy, pet lamb 
alongside o' Number Two. Capital Coves like 'im only 
'appen, and they only 'appen every thousand year or 
so. Ecod ! I 'm proud o' Number Two. And talking 
of 'im, I 'appened to call on Nick the Cobbler, last 

" Oh? " 

" Ah ! and I found 'im vith 'is longest awl close 'andy — 
all on account o' Number Two." 

" How on his account? " demanded Barnabas, frowning 

" Veil, last evening, Milo o' Crotona, a pal o' Nick's, 
and a werry promising bye 'e is too, 'appened to drop in 
sociable-like, and it seems as Number Two .followed 'im. 
And werry much Number Two frightened that 'andsome 
gal, by all accounts. She wrote you a letter, vich she give 
me to deliver, and — 'ere it is." 

So Barnabas took the letter and broke the seal. It was 
a very short letter, but as he read Barnabas frowned 
blacker than ever. 

" Mr. Shrig," said he very earnestly as he folded and 
pocketed the letter, " will you do something for me — 
will you take a note to my servant, John Peterby? 
You '11 find him at the ' Oak and Ivy ' in Hawkhurst 

" Vich, seeing as you 're a pal, sir, I vill. But, sir," 
continued Mr. Shrig, as Barnabas scribbled certain in- 
structions for Peterby on a page of his memorandum, 
" vot about yourself — you ain't a-going back there, are 
ye? " and he jerked his thumb over his shoulder towards 
the barn, now some distance behind them. 

466 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Of course," said Barnabas, " to keep my appoint- 

" D' ye think it 's safe — now? " 

" Quite, — thanks to you," answered Barnabas. " Here 
is the note, and if you wish, John Peterby will drive you 
back to London with him." 

" V'y, thank'ee sir, — 'e shall that, — but you, now? " 
Mr. Shrig paused, and, somewhat diffidently drew from his 
side pocket a very business-like, brass-bound pistol, which 
he proffered to Barnabas, " jest in case they should 'appen 
to come back, sir," said he. 

But Barnabas laughingly declined it, and shook his 
chubby hand instead. 

" Veil," said Mr. Shrig, pocketing note and weapon, 
" you 're true game, sir, yes, game 's your breed, and I 
only 'ope as you don't give me a case — though good 
murder cases is few and far between, as I 've told you 
afore. Good-by, sir, and good luck." 

So saying, Mr. Shrig nodded, touched the broad rim of 
his castor, and strode away through the gathering 

And when he was gone, and the sound of his going had 
died away in the distance, Barnabas turned and swiftly 
retraced his steps ; but now he went with fists clenched, 
and head forward, as one very much on the alert. 

Evening was falling and the shadows were deepening 
apace, and as he went, Barnabas kept ever in the shelter 
of the trees until he saw before him once more, the desolate 
and crumbling barn of Oakshott. For a moment he 
paused, eyeing its scarred and battered walls narrowly, 
then, stepping quickly forward, entered the gloomy door- 
way and, turning towards a certain spot, started back 
before the threatening figure that rose up from the 

" Ah ! So you 've c-come at last, sir ! " said Barry- 
maine, stead}dng himself against the wall with one hand 
while he held the pistol levelled in the other, " ins-stead of 
the weak s-sister you find the avenging brother ! Been 

The Gathering of the Shadows 467 

waiting for you hours. C-cursed dreary hole this, and I 
fell asleep, but — " 

" Because you were drugged ! " said Barnabas. 

" D-drugged, sir! W-what d' you mean? " 

" Chichester drugged the brandy — " 

" Chichester ? " 

" He meant to murder me while you slept and fix the 
crime on you — " 

" Liar ! " cried Barrymaine, " you came here to meet 
my s-sister, but instead of a defenceless girl you meet me 
and I 'm g-going to settle with you — once and for all — 
t-told you I would, last time we met. There 's another 
pistol in the c-case yonder — pick it up and t-take your 

" Listen to me," Barnabas began. 

" N-not a word — you 're going to fight me — " 


" Pick up that pistol — or I '11 sh-shoot you where you 


" I '11 c-count three ! " said Barrymaine, his pale face 
livid against the darkness behind, " One ! Two ! — " 

But, on the instant, Barnabas sprang in and closed 
with him, and, grappled in a fierce embrace, they swayed 
a moment and staggered out through the gaping door- 

Barrymaine fought desperately. Barnabas felt his coat 
rip and tear, but he maintained his grip upon his oppo- 
nent's pistol hand, yet twice the muzzle of the weapon 
covered him, and twice he eluded it before Barrymaine 
could fire. Therefore, seeing Barrymaine's intention, 
reading his deadly purpose in vicious mouth and dilated 
nostril, Barnabas loosed one hand, drew back his arm, 
and smote — swift and hard. Barrymaine uttered a cry 
that seemed to Barnabas to find an echo far off, flung out 
his arms and, staggering, fell. 

Then Barnabas picked up the pistol and, standing over 
Barrymaine, spoke. 

4.68 The Amateur Gentleman 

"I — had to — do it!" he panted. "Did I — hurt 
you much? " 

But Ronald Barrymaine lay very white and still, and, 
stooping, Barnabas saw that he had struck much harder 
than he had meant, and that Barrymaine's mouth was cut 
and bleeding. 

Now at this moment, even as he sank on his knees, Bar- 
nabas again heard a cry, but nearer now and with the 
rustle of flying draperies, and, glancing up, saw Cleone 
running towards them. 

" Cleone ! " he cried, and sprang to his feet. 

" You — struck him ! " she panted. 

"I — yes, I — had to ! But indeed he is n't much 
hurt — " But Cleone was down upon her knees, had lifted 
Barrymaine's head to her bosom and was wiping the 
blood from his pale face with her handkerchief. 

" Cleone," said Barnabas, humbly, "I — indeed I — ■ 
could n't help it. Oh, Cleone — look up ! " Yet, while he 
spoke, there came a rustling of leaves near by and glancing 
thither, he saw Mr. Chichester surveying them, smiling 
and debonair, and, striding forward, Barnabas confronted 
him with scowling brow and fierce, menacing eyes. 

" Rogue ! " said he, his lips curling, " Rascal ! " 

" Ah ! " nodded Mr. Chichester gently, " you have a 
pistol there, I see ! " 

" Your despicable villainy is known ! " said Barnabas. 
" Ha ! — smile if you will, but while you knelt, pistol in 
hand, in the barn there, had you troubled to look in the 
loft above your head you might have murdered me, and 
none the wiser. As it is, I am alive, to strip you of your 
heritage, and you still owe me twenty thousand guineas. 
Pah ! keep them to help you from the country, for I swear 
you shall be hounded from every club in London ; men shall 
know you for what you are. Now go, before you tempt 
me to strangle you for a nauseous beast. Go, I say ! " 

Smiling still, but with a devil looking from his narrowed 
eyes, Mr. Chichester slowly viewed Barnabas from head 
to foot, and, turning, strolled away, swinging his tasselled 

The Gathering of the Shadows 469 

walking cane as he went, with Barnabas close behind him, 
pistol in hand, even as they had once walked months' before. 
Now at this moment it was that Cleone, yet kneeling 
beside Barrymaine, chanced to espy a crumpled piece of 
paper that lay within a yard of her, and thus, half unwit- 
tingly, she reached out and took it up, glanced at it with 
vague eyes, then started, and knitting her black brows, 
read these words : 

" My Deau Barnabas, — The beast has discovered me. 
I thought I only scorned him, but now I know I fear him, 
too. So, in my dread, I turn to you. Yes, I will go now 
— anywhere you wish. Fear has made me humble, and I 
accept your offer. Oh, take me away — hide me, any- 
where, so shall I always be 

" Your grateful, 

" Clemency." 

Thus, in a while, when Barrymaine opened his e} r es, it 
was to see Cleone kneeling beside him with bent head, and 
with both hands clasped down upon her bosom, fierce hands 
that clenched a crumpled paper between them. At first 
he thought she was weeping, but, when she turned towards 
him, he saw that her eyes were tearless and very bright, 
and that on either cheek burned a vivid patch of color. 

" Oh, Ronald ! " she sighed, her lips quivering suddenly, 
"I — am glad you are better — but — oh, my dear, I 
wish I — were dead ! " 

" There, there, Clo ! " he muttered, patting her stooping 
shoulder, " I f-frightened you, I suppose. But I 'm all 
right now, dear. W-where 's Chichester? " 

"I — don't know, Ronald." 

" But you, Cleone ? You came here to m-meet this — 
this Beverley? " 

" Yes, Ronald." 

" D' you know w-what he is ? D' you know he 's a pub- 
lican's son ? — a vile, low fellow masquerading as a g- gen- 
tleman? Yes, he 's a p-publican's son, I tell you! " he re- 
peated, seeing how she shrank at this. " And you s-stocp 

47 o The Amateur Gentleman 

to such as he — s-stoop to meet him in s-such a place as 
this ! So I came to save you f-f rom yourself ! " 

"Did you, Ronald?" 

" Yes — but oh, Cleone, you don't 1-love the fellow, do 
you? " 

" I think I — hate him, Ronald." 

" Then you won't m-meet him again? " 

" No, Ronald." 

" And you '11 try to be a little kinder — to C-Chiches- 
ter? " Cleone shivered and rose to her feet. 

" Come ! " said she, her hands once more clasped upon 
her bosom, " it grows late., I must go." 

" Yes. D-devilish depressing place this ! G-give me 
your arm, Clo." But as they turned to go, the bushes 
parted, and Barnabas appeared. 

" Cleone ! " he exclaimed. 

"I — I 'm going home ! " she said, not looking at him. 

" Then I will come with you, — if I may? " 

" I had rather go — alone — with my brother." 

" So pray s-stand aside, sir ! " said Barrymaine haugh- 
tily through his swollen lips, staggering a little despite 
Cleone's arm. 

" Sir," said Barnabas pleadingly, " I struck you a while 
ago, but it was the only way to save you from — a greater 
evil, as you know — " 

" He means I threatened to s-shoot him, Clo — so I did, 
but it was for your sake, to sh-shield you from — perse- 
cution as a brother should." 

" Cleone," said Barnabas, ignoring Barrymaine alto- 
gether, " if there is any one in this world who should know 
me, and what manner of man I am, surely it is you — " 

" Yes, she knows you — b-better than you think, she 
knows you for a publican's son, first of all — " 

" May I come with you, Cleone ? " 

" No, sir, n-not while I 'm here. Cleone, you go with 
xvm, or m-me, so — choose ! " 

" Oh, Ronald, take me home ! " she breathed. 

So Barrymaine drew her arm through his and, turning 

The Gathering of the Shadows 47 1 

his back on Barnabas, led her away. But, when they had 
gone a little distance, he frowned suddenly and came strid- 
ing after them. 

" Cleone," said he, " why are you so strange to me, — 
what is it, — speak to me." 

But Cleone was dumb, and walked on beside Ronald 
Barrymaine with head averted, and so with never a back- 
ward glance, was presently lost to sight among the leaves. 

Long after they had .gone, Barnabas stood there, his 
head bowed, while the shadows deepened about him, dark 
and darker. Then all at once he sighed again and, lift- 
ing his head, glanced about him ; and because of tHe deso- 
lation of the place, he shivered; and because of the new, 
sharp pain that gripped him, he uttered a bitter curse, 
and so, becoming aware of the pistol he yet grasped, he 
flung it far from him and strode away through the deepen- 
ing gloom. 

On he went, heeding only the tumult of sorrow and 
anger that surged within him. And so, betimes, reached 
the " Oak and Ivy " inn, where, finding Peterby and the 
phaeton already gone, according to his instructions, he 
hired post-horses and galloped away for London. 

Now, as he went, though the evening was fine, it seemed 
to him that high overhead was a shadow that followed 
and kept pace with him, growing dark and ever darker; 
and thus as he rode he kept his gaze upon this menacing 

As for my lady, she, securely locked within the sanctu- 
ary of her chamber, took pen and paper and wrote these 
words : 

" You have destroyed my faith, and with that all else. 

" Farewell." 

Which done, she stamped a small, yet vicious foot upon 
a certain crumpled letter, and thereafter, lying face down 
upon her bed, wept hot, slow, bitter tears, stifling her 
sobs with the tumbled glory of her hair, and in her heart 
was an agony greater than any she had ever known. 




It will perhaps be expected that, owing to this unhappy 
state of affairs, Barnabas should have found sleep a 
stranger to his pillow; but, on the contrary, reaching 
London at daybreak, he went to bed, and there, wearied by 
his long ride, found a blessed oblivion from all his cares 
and sorrows. Nor did he wake till the day was far spent 
and evening at hand. But, with returning consciousness 
came Memory to harrow him afresh, came cold Pride and 
glowing Anger. And with these also was yet another 
emotion, and one that he had never known till now, whose 
name is Doubt ; doubt of himself and of his future — that 
deadly foe to achievement and success — that ghoul-like 
incubus which, once it fastens on a man, seldom leaves him 
until courage, and hope, and confidence are dead, and 
nothing remains but a foreknowledge and expectation of 

With this grisly spectre at his elbow Barnabas rose and 
dressed, and went downstairs to make a pretence of break- 
ing his fast. 

" Sir," said Peterby, watching how he sat staring down 
moodily at the table, " sir, you eat nothing." 

" No, John, I 'm not hungry," he answered, pushing his 
plate aside. " By the way, did you find the cottage I men- 
tioned in my note ? Though, indeed, you 've had very 
little time." 

"Yes, sir, I found one just beyond Lewisham, small, 
though comfortable. Here is the key, sir." 

" Thank you, John," said Barnabas, and thereafter sat 
staring gloomily at the key until Peterby spoke again: 

A Chapter on Doubt 473 

" Sir, pray forgive me, but I fear you are in some 
trouble. Is it your misunderstanding with Viscount Dev- 
enham? I could n't help but overhear, and — " 

" Ah, yes — even the Viscount has quarrelled with me," 
sighed Barnabas, " next it will be the Marquis, I suppose, 
and after him — Gad, John Peterby — I shall have only 
you left!" 

" Indeed, sir, 3'ou will always have me — always ! " 

" Yes, John, I think I shall." 

" Sir, when you — gave a miserable wretch another 
chance to live and be a man, you were young and full of 

" Yes, I was very, very young ! " sighed Barnabas. 

" But you were happy — your head was high and your 
eye bright with confident hope and purpose." 

" Yes, I was very confident, John." 

" And therefore — greatly successful, sir. Your desire 
was to cut a figure in the Fashionable World. Well, 
to-day you have your wish — to-day you are famous, and 
yet — " 

"Well, John?" 

" Sir, to-day I fear you are — not happy." 

" No, I 'm not happy," sighed Barnabas, " for oh ! John 
Peterby, what shall it profit a man though he gain the 
whole world, and lose his soul ! " 

" Ah, sir — you mean — ? " 

" I mean — the Lady Cleone, John. Losing her, I lose 
all, and success is worse than failure." 

" But, sir, — must you lose her? " 

" I fear so. Who am I that she should stoop to me 
among so many? Who am I to expect so great hap- 
piness? " 

" Sir," said Peterby, shaking his head, " I have never 
known you doubt yourself or fortune till now ! " 

" It never occurred to me, John." 

" And because of this unshaken confidence in yourself 
you won the steeplechase, sir — unaided and alone you 
won for yourself a place in the most exclusive circles in 

474 The Amateur Gentleman 

the World of Fashion — without friends or influence you 
achieved the impossible, because you never doubted." 

" Yes, I was very confident, John, but then, you see, I 
never thought anything impossible — till now." 

" And therefore you succeeded, sir. But had you con- 
stantly doubted your powers and counted failure even as 
a possibility, you might still have dreamed of your success 
— but never achieved it." 

" Why then," sighed Barnabas, rising, " it seems that 
Failure has marked me for her own at last, for never was 
man fuller of doubt than I." 



Night was falling as, turning out of St. James's Square, 
Barnabas took his way along Charles Street and so, by 
way of the Strand, towards Blackfriars. He wore a long, 
befrogged surtout buttoned up to the chin,) though the 
weather was warm, and his hat was drawn low over his 
brows ; also in place of his tasselled walking-cane he car- 
ried a heavy stick. 

For the first half mile or so he kept his eyes well about 
him, but, little by little, became plunged in frowning 
thought, and so walked on, lost in gloomy abstraction. 
Thus, as he crossed Blackfriars Bridge he was quite un- 
aware of one who followed him step by step, though upon 
the other side of the way ; a gliding, furtive figure, and 
one who also went with coat buttoned high and face hid- 
den beneath shadowy hat-brim. 

On strode Barnabas, all unconscious, with his mind ever 
busied with thoughts of Cleone and the sudden, unaccus- 
tomed doubt in himself and his future that had come upon 

Presently he turned off to the right along a dirty street 
of squalid, tumble-down houses ; a narrow, ill-lighted street 
which, though comparatively quiet by day, now hummed 
with a dense and seething life. 

Yes, a dark street this, with here and there a flickering 
lamp, that served but to make the darkness visible, and 
here and there the lighted window of some gin-shop, or 
drinking-cellar, whence proceeded a mingled clamor of 
voices roaring the stave of some song, or raised in fierce 

476 The Amateur Gentleman 

On he went, past shambling figures indistinct in the 
dusk; past figures that slunk furtively aside, or crouched 
to watch him from the gloom of some doorway ; past rag- 
ged creatures that stared, haggard-eyed; past faces sad 
and faces evil that flitted by him in the dark, or turned 
to scowl over hunching shoulders. Therefore Barnabas 
gripped his stick the tighter as he strode along, suddenly 
conscious of the stir and unseen movement in the fetid air 
about him, of the murmur of voices, the desolate wailing 
of children, the noise of drunken altercation, and all the 
sordid sounds that were part and parcel of the place. Of 
all this Barnabas was heedful, but he was wholly unaware 
of the figure that dogged him from behind, following him 
step by step, patient and persistent. Thus, at last, Bar- 
nabas reached a certain narrow alley, beyond which was 
the River, dark, mysterious, and full of sighs and mur- 
murs. And, being come to the door of Nick the Cobbler, 
he knocked upon it with his stick. 

It was opened, almost immediately, by Clemency herself. 

" I saw you coming," she said, giving him her hand, and 
so led him through the dark little shop, into the inner room. 

" I came as soon as I could, Clemency." 

" Yes, I knew you would come," she answered, with 
bowed head. 

" I am here to take you away to a cottage I have found 
for you — a place in the country, where you will be safe 
until I can find and bring your father to you." 

As he ended, she lifted her head and looked at him 
through gathering tears. 

" How good — how kind of you ! " she said, very softly, 
*' and oh, I thank you, indeed I do — but — " 

" But, Clemency? " 

" I must stay — here." 

" In this awful place! Why? " 

Clemency flushed, and looking down at the table, began 
to pleat a fold in the cloth with nervous fingers. 

" Poor little Nick has n't been very well lately, and I 
— can't leave him alone — " she began. 

Devenham Finds a Viscountess 477 

" Then bring him with you." 

" And," she continued slowly, " when I wrote you that 
letter I was — greatly afraid, but I 'm — not afraid any 
longer. And oh, I could n't leave London yet — I 

Now while she spoke, Barnabas saw her clasp and wring 
her hands together, that eloquent gesture he remembered 
so well. Therefore he leaned across the table and touched 
those slender fingers very gently. 

" Why not? Tell me your trouble, my sister." 

Now Clemency bowed her dark head, and when she spoke 
her voice was low and troubled: 

" Because — he is ill — dangerously ill, Milo tells me, 
and I — I am nearer to him here in London. I can go, 
sometimes, and look at the house where he lies. So you 
see, I cannot leave him, yet." 

" Then — you love him, Clemency ? " 

" Yes," she whispered, " yes, oh yes, always — always ! 
That was why I ran away from him. Oh, I love him so 
much that I grew afraid of my love, and of myself, and of 
him. Because he is a great gentleman, and I am only — 
what I am." 

" A very good and beautiful woman ! " said Barnabas. 

" Beauty ! " she sighed, " oh, it is only for that he — 
wanted me, and dear heaven ! I love him so much that — 
if he asked me — I fear — " and she hid her burning face 
in hands that trembled. 

" Clemency ! " 

The word was hoarse and low, scarcely more than a 
whisper, but, even so, Clemency started and lifted her 
head to stare wide-eyed at the figure leaning in the door- 
way, with one hand outstretched to her appealingly; a 
tall figure, cloaked from head to foot, with hat drawn low 
over his brows, his right arm carried in a sling. And as 
she gazed, Clemency uttered a low, soft cry, and rose to 
her feet. 

" My Lord ! " she whispered, " oh, my Lord ! " 

" Dearest ! " 

478 The Amateur Gentleman 

The Viscount stepped into the room and, uncovering his 
head, sank upon his knees before her. 

" Oh, Clemency," said he, " the door was open and I 
heard it all — every word. But, dearest, you need never 
fear me any more — never any more, because I love you, 
Clemency, and here, upon my knees, beg you to honor 
me by — marrying me, if you will stoop to such a pitiful 
thing as I am. Clemency dear, I have been ill, and it has 
taught me many things, and I know now that I — cannot 
live- without you. So, Clemency, if you will take pity on 
me — oh ! Clemency — ! " 

The Viscount stopped, still kneeling before her with 
bent head, nor did he look up or attempt to touch her as 
he waited her answer. 

Then, slowly, she reached out and stroked that bowed 
and humble head, and, setting her hands upon his droop- 
ing shoulders, she sank to her knees before him, so that 
now he could look into the glowing beauty of her face 
and behold the deep, yearning tenderness of her eyes. 

" Dear," said she very gently, " dear, if you — want 
me so much you have only to — take me ! " 

" For my Viscountess, Clemency ! " 

" For your — wife, dear ! " 

And now, beholding their great happiness, Barnabas 
stole from the room, closing the door softly behind him. 

Then, being only human, he sighed deeply and pitied 
himself mightily by contrast. 



Now as Barnabas stood thus, he heard another sigh, and 
glancing up beheld Mr. Shrig seated at the little Cobbler's 
bench, with a guttering candle at his elbow and a hat upon 
his fist, which he appeared to be examining with lively 

" Sir," said he, as Barnabas approached, wondering, 
" I 'm taking the liberty o' looking at your castor." 

" Oh ! " said Barnabas. 

" Sir, it 's a werry good 'at as 'ats go, but it 's no kind 
of an 'at for you to-night." 

" And why not, Mr. Shrig? " 

" Because it ain't much pertection ag'in windictiveness 
— in the shape of a bludgeon, shall ve say, and as for a 
brick — v'y, Lord ! And theer 's an uncommon lot of win- 
dictiveness about to-night ; it 's a-vaiting for you — as 
you might say — round the corner." 

" Really, Mr. Shrig, I 'm afraid I don't understand 

" Sir, d' ye mind a cove o' the name o' ' Vistling Dick/ 
as got 'isself kicked to death by an 'orse? " 

" Yes." 

" And d' ye mind another cove commonly known as 
' Dancing Jimmy,' and another on 'em as is called ' Bunty 

" Yes, they tried to rob me once." 

" Right, sir, — only I scared 'em off, you '11 remember. 
Conseqvently, p'r'aps you ain't forgot certain other coves 
as you and me had a bit of a turn-up vith v'en I sez to 

480 The Amateur Gentleman 

you ' Run,' and you sez to me ' No,' and got a lump on 
your sconce like an 'ard-biled egg according? " 

" Yes, I remember of course, but why — " 

" Sir, they 're all on 'em out on the windictive lay again 
to-night, — only, this time, it 's you they 're arter." 

" Me — are you sure? " 

" And sartin ! Corporal Richard Roe, late Grenadiers, 
give me the office, and Corporal Richard 's never wrong, 
sir. Corporal Dick 's my pal as keeps the ' Gun ' in Gray's 
Inn Lane, you may remember, and the ' Gun ' 's a famous 
chaffing-crib for the flash, leary coves. So, v'en the Corp 
tipped me the vord, sir, I put my castor on my sconce, 
slipped a barker in my cly, took my stick in my fib — or 
as you might say ' daddle,' d' ye see, and toddled over 
to keep a ogle on you. And, sir, if it had n't been for the 
young gent as shadowed ye all the way to Giles's Rents, 
it 's my opinion as they 'd ha' done you into a corp as you 
come along." 

" But why should they want to do for me? " 

" V'y, sir, they'd do for their own mothers, j'yful, if 
you paid 'em to ! " 

" But who would employ such a gang? " 

" Veil, sir, naming no names, there 's a party as I sus- 
pect from conclusions as I 've drawed, a party as I 'm 
a-going to try to ketch this here werry night, sir — as 
I mean to ketch in flay-grant de-lick-too, vich is a 
law term meaning — in the werry act, sir, if you '11 help 
me? " 

" Of course I will," said Barnabas, a little eagerly, " but 

" By doing eggs-actly as I tell you, sir. Is it a go ? " 

" It is," nodded Barnabas. 

" V'y, then, to begin vith, that theer coat o' yours, — 
it 's too long to run in — off vith it, sir ! " 

Barnabas smiled, but off came the long, befrogged 

" Now — my castor, sir ! " and Mr. Shrig handed Bar- 
nabas his famous hat. " Put it on, sir, if you please. 

How Barnabas Lost his Hat 481 

You '11 find it a bit 'eavyish at first, maybe, but it 's werry 
good ag'in windictiveness." 

" Thank you," said Barnabas, smiling again, " but it ? s 
too small, you see." 

" That 's a pity ! " sighed Mr. Shrig, " still, if it von't 
go on, it von't. Now, as to a vepping? " 

" I have my stick," said Barnabas, holding it up. Mr. 
Shrig took it, balanced it in his grasp and passed it back 
with a nod of approval. 

" V'y then, sir, I think ve may wenture," said he, 
and rising, put on his hat, examined the priming of 
the brass-bound pistol, and taking the nobbly stick under 
his arm, blew out the candle and crossed to the door; 
yet, being there, paused. " Sir," said he, a note of 
anxiety in his voice, " you promise to do eggs-actly vot 
I say? " 

" I promise ! " 

" V'en I say ' run ' you '11 run? " 

" Yes." 

" Then come on, sir, and keep close behind me." 

So saying, Mr. Shrig opened the door and stepped 
noisily out into the narrow court and waited while Bar- 
nabas fastened the latch; even then he paused to glance 
up at the sombre heaven and to point out a solitary 
star that twinkled through some rift in the blackness 
above. . 

" Going to be a fine night for a little walk," said he, 
" Oliver vill be in town later on." 

" Oliver? " inquired Barnabas. 

" Ah ! that 's flash for the moon, sir. Jest a nice light 
there '11 be. This vay, sir." With the words Mr. Shrig 
turned sharp to his left along the alley towards the 

" Why this way, Mr. Shrig? " 

" First, sir, because they 're a-vaiting for you at t' other 
end o' the alley, and second, because v'en they see us go 
this vay they '11 think they 've got us sure and sartin, and 
follow according, and third, because at a certain place 

482 The Amateur Gentleman 

along by the River I 've left Corporal Dick and four o' 
my specials, d' ye see. S-sh ! Qviet now ! Oblige me with 
your castor — your 'at, sir." 

Wonderingly, Barnabas handed him the article in ques- 
tion, whereupon Mr. Shrig, setting it upon the end of the 
nobbly stick, began to advance swiftly where the shadow 
lay blackest, and with an added caution, motioning to Bar- 
nabas to do the like. 

They were close upon the River now, so close that Bar- 
nabas could hear it lapping against the piles, and catch 
the. indefinable reek of it. But on they went, swift and 
silent, creeping ever in the gloom of the wall beside them, 
nearer and nearer until presently the River flowed before 
them, looming darker than the dark, and its sullen mur- 
mur was all about them; until Mr. Shrig, stopping all at 
once, raised the hat upon his stick and thrust it slowly, 
inch by inch, round the angle of the wall. And lo ! even 
as Barnabas watched with bated breath, suddenly it was 
gone — struck away into space by an unseen weapon, and 
all in an instant it seemed, came a vicious oath, a snarl 
from Mr. Shrig, the thud of a blow, and a dim shape stag- 
gered sideways and sinking down at the base of the wall 
lay very silent and very still. 

" Run ! " cried Mr. Shrig, and away he went beside the 
River, holding a tortuous course among the piles of rot- 
ting lumber, dexterously avoiding dim-seen obstacles, yet 
running with a swiftness wonderful to behold. All at once 
he stopped and glanced about him. 

" What now? " inquired Barnabas. 

" S-sh ! d' ye 'ear anything, sir? " 

Sure enough, from the darkness behind, came a sound 
there was no mistaking, the rush and patter of pursuing 
feet, and the feet were many. 

" Are we to fight here? " demanded Barnabas, button- 
ing his coat. 

" No, not yet, sir. Ah ! there 's Oliver — told you it 
vould be a fine night. This vay, sir ! " And turning to 
the left again, Mr. Shrig led the way down a narrow pas- 

How Barnabas Lost his Hat 483 

sage. Half-way along this dim alley he paused, and seat- 
ing himself upon a dim step, fell to mopping his brow. 

" A extra-special capital place, this, sir ! " said he. 
" Bankside 's good enough for a capital job, but this is 
better, ah, a sight better ! Many a unfort'nate wictim has 
been made a corp' of, hereabouts, sir ! " 

" Yes," said Barnabas shivering, for the air struck chill 
and damp, " but what do we do now? " 

" V'y, sir, I '11 tell you. Ve sit here, nice and qviet and 
let 'em run on till they meet my four specials and Cor- 
poral Richard Roe, late Grenadiers. My specials has 
their staves and knows how to use 'em, and the Corp has 
's 'ook, — and an 'ook ain't no-vise pleasant as a vep- 
ping. So, ven they come running back, d' ye see, theer 's 
you vith your stick, an' me vith my barker, an' so ve 'ave 
'em front and rear." 

" But can we stop them — all? " 

" Ah! " nodded Mr. Shrig, " all as the Corp 'as left of 
'em. Ye see they know me, most on 'em, and likevise they 
knows as v'en I pull a barker from my cly that theer 
barker don't miss fire. Vot 's more, they must come as 
far as this passage or else drownd theirselves in the River, 
vich vould save a lot o' trouble and expense, and — s-sh ! " 

He broke off abruptly and rose to his feet, and Barna- 
bas saw that he held the brass-bound pistol in his hand. 
Then, as they stood listening, plain and more plain was 
the pad-pad of running feet that raced up to the mouth 
of the alley where they stood — past it, and so died down 
again. Hereupon Mr. Shrig took out his large-faced 
watch and, holding it close to his eyes, nodded. 

" In about vun minute they '11 run up ag'in the Corp," 
said he, " and a precious ugly customer they '11 find him, 
not to mention my specials — ve '11 give 'em another two 
minutes." Saying which, Mr. Shrig reseated himself upon 
the dim step, watch in hand. " Sir," he continued, " I 'm 
sorry about your 'at — sich a werry good 'at, too ! But 
it 'ad to be yours or mine, and sir, — axing your pardon, 
but there 's a good many 'ats to be 'ad in London jest as 

484 The Amateur Gentleman 

good as yourn, for them as can afford 'em, but theer ain't 
another castor like mine — no, not in the U-nited 

" Very true," nodded Barnabas, " and no hat ever could 
have had a more — useful end, than mine." 

" Vy yes, sir — better your castor than your sconce 
any day," said Mr. Shrig, " and now I think it 's about 
time for us to — wenture forth. But, sir," he added im- 
pressively, " if the conclusion as I 've drawed is correct, 
theer 's safe to be shooting if you 're recognized, so 
keep in the shadder o' the wall, d' ye see. Now, are 
ye ready? — keep behind me — so. Here they come, I 

Somewhere along the dark River hoarse cries arose, and 
the confused patter of running feet that drew rapidly 
louder and more distinct. Nearer they came until Barna- 
bas could hear voices that panted out fierce curses; also 
he heard Mr. Shrig's pistol click as it was cocked. 

So, another minute dragged by and then, settling his 
broad-brimmed hat more firmly, Mr. Shrig sprang nimbly 
from his lurking-place and fronted the on-comers with 
levelled weapon: 

" Stand ! " he cried, " stand — in the King's name ! " 

By the feeble light of the moon, Barnabas made out 
divers figures who, checking their career, stood huddled 
together some yards away, some scowling at the threaten- 
ing posture of Mr. Shrig, others glancing back over their 
shoulders towards the dimness behind, whence came a 
shrill whistle and the noise of pursuit. 

" Ah, you may look ! " cried Mr. Shrig, " but I 've got 
ye, my lambs — all on ye ! You, Bunty Fagan, and 
Dancing Jimmy, I know you, and you know me, so stand 
— all on ye. The first man as moves I '11 shoot — stone 
dead, and v'en I says a thing I — " 

A sudden, blinding flash, a deafening report, and, drop- 
ping his pistol, Mr. Shrig groaned and staggered up 
against the wall. But Barnabas was ready and, as their 
assailants rushed, met them with whirling stick. 

How Barnabas Lost his Hat 485 

It was desperate work, but Barnabas was in the mood 
for it, answering blow with blow, and shout with shout. 

" Oh, Jarsper ! " roared a distant voice, " we 're com- 
ing. Hold 'em, Jarsper ! " 

So Barnabas struck, and parried, and struck, now here, 
now there, advancing and retreating by turns, until the 
flailing stick splintered in his grasp, and he was hurled 
back to the wall and borne to his knees. Twice he strug- 
gled up, but was beaten down again, — down and down 
into a choking blackness that seemed full of griping hands 
and cruel, trampling feet. 

Faint and sick, dazed with his hurts, Barnabas rose 
to his knees and so, getting upon unsteady feet, sought 
to close with one who threatened him with upraised blud- 
geon, grasped at an arm, missed, felt a stunning shock, — 
staggered back and back with the sounds of the struggle 
ever fainter to his failing senses, tripped, and falling 
heavily, rolled over upon his back, and so lay still. 



" Oh, Lord God of the weary and heavy-hearted, have 
mercy upon me ! Oh, Father of the Sorrowful, suffer now 
that I find rest ! " 

Barnabas opened his eyes and stared up at a cloudless 
heaven where rode the moon, a silver sickle; and gazing 
thither, he remembered that some one had predicted a fine 
night later, and vaguely wondered who it might have 

Not a sound reached him save the slumberous murmur 
that the River made lapping lazily against the piles, and 
Barnabas sighed and closed his eyes again. 

But all at once, upon this quiet, came words spoken 
near by, in a voice low and broken, and the words were 
these : 

" Oh, Lord of Pity, let now thy mercy lighten upon me, 
suffer that I come to Thee this hour, for in Thee is my 
trust. Take back my life, oh, Father, for, without hope, 
life is a weary burden, and Death, a boon. But if I needs 
must live on, give me some sign that I may know. Oh, 
Lord of Pity, hear me ! " 

The voice ceased and, once again, upon the hush stole 
the everlasting whisper of the River. Then, clear and 
sharp, there broke another sound, the oncoming tread of 
feet; soft, deliberate feet they were, which yet drew ever 
nearer and nearer while Barnabas, staring up dreamily 
at the moon, began to count their steps. Suddenly they 
stopped altogether, and Barnabas, lying there, waited for 
them to go on again; but in a while, as the silence re- 

A Reconciliation 487 

mained unbroken, he sighed and turning his throbbing 
head saw a figure standing within a yard of him. 

" Sir," said Mr. Chichester, coming nearer and smiling 
down at prostrate Barnabas, " this is most thoughtful — 
most kind of you. I have been hoping to meet you again, 
more especially since our last interview, and now, to find 
you awaiting me at such an hour, in such a place, — ■ 
remote from all chances of disturbance, and — with the 
River so very convenient too ! Indeed, you could n't have 
chosen a fitter place, and I am duly grateful." 

Saying which, Mr. Chichester seated himself upon the 
mouldering remains of an ancient wherry, and slipped one 
hand into the bosom of his coat. 

" Sir," said he, leaning towards Barnabas, " you appear 
to be hurt, but you are not — dying, of course? " 

" Dying ! " repeated Barnabas, lifting a hand to his 
aching brow, " dying, — no." 

" And yet, I fear you are," sighed Mr. Chichester, 
" yes, I think you will be most thoroughly dead before 
morning, — I do indeed." And he drew a pistol from his 
pocket, very much as though it were a snuff-box. 

" But before we write ' Finis ' to your very remarkable 
career," he went on, " I have a few, — a very few words 
to say. Sir, there have been many women in my life, yes, 
a great many, but only one I ever loved, and you, it seems 
must love her too. You have obtruded yourself wantonly 
in my concerns from the very first moment we met. I have 
always found you an obstacle, an obstruction. But lat- 
terly you have become a menace, threatening my very ex- 
istence for, should you dispossess me of my heritage I 
starve, and, sir — I have no mind to starve. Thus, since 
it is to be your life or mine, I, very naturally, prefer that 
it shall be yours. Also you threatened to hound me from 
the clubs — well, sir, had I not had the good fortune to 
meet you to-night, I had planned to make you the scorn 
and laughing-stock of Town, and to drive you from Lon- 
don like the impostor you are. It was an excellent plan, 
and I am sorry to forego it, but necessity knows no law. 

488 The Amateur Gentleman 

and so to-night I mean to rid myself of the obstacle, and 
sweep it away altogether." As he ended, Mr. Chichester 
smiled, sighed, and cocked his pistol. But, even as it 
clicked, a figure rose up from behind the rotting wherry 
and, as Mr. Chichester leaned towards Barnabas, smiling 
still but with eyes of deadly menace, a hand, pale and 
claw-like in the half-light, fell and clenched itself upon his 

At the touch Mr. Chichester started and, uttering an 
exclamation, turned savagely; then Barnabas struggled 
to his knees, and pinning his wrist with one hand, twisted 
the pistol from his grasp with the other and, as Mr. Chi- 
chester sprang to his feet, faced him, still upon his knees, 
but with levelled weapon. 

" Don't shoot ! " cried a voice. 

" Shoot ? " repeated Barnabas, and got unsteadily upon 
his legs. " Shoot — no, my hands are best ! " and, fling- 
ing the pistol far out into the River, he approached Mr. 
Chichester, staggering a little, but with fists clenched. 

" Sir," cried the voice again, " oh, young sir, what 
would you do ? " 

" Kill him ! " said Barnabas. 

" No, no — leave him to God's justice, God will requite 
him — let him go." 

" No ! " said Barnabas, shaking his head. But, as he 
pressed forward intent on his purpose, restraining hands 
were upon his arm, and the voice pleaded in his ear : 

"God is a just God, young sir — let the man go — 
leave him to the Almighty." 

And the hands upon his arm shook him with passionate 
entreaty. Therefore Barnabas paused and, bowing his 
head, clasped his throbbing temples between his palms and 
so, stood a while. When he looked up again, Mr. Chiches- 
ter was gone, and the Apostle of Peace stood before him, 
his silver hair shining, his pale face uplifted towards 

" I owe you — my life ! " said Barnabas. 

" You are alive, young sir, which is good, and your 

A Reconciliation 489 

hands are not stained with a villain's blood, which is much 
better. But, as for me — God pity me ! — I came here 
to-night, meaning to be a self-murderer — oh, God for- 
give me ! " 

" But you — asked for — a sign, I think," said Barna- 
bas, " and you — live also. And to-night your pilgrimage 
ends, in Clemency's loving arms." 

"Clemency? My daughter? Oh, sir, — young sir, 
how may that be? They tell me she is dead." 

" Lies ! " said Barnabas, " lies ! I spoke with her to- 
night." The Apostle of Peace stood a while with bowed 
head ; when at last he looked up, his cheeks were wet with 

" Then, sir," said he, " take me to her. Yet, stay ! You 
are hurt, and, if in my dark hour I doubted God's mercy, 
I would not be selfish in my happiness — " 

" Happiness ! " said Barnabas, " yes — every one seems 
happy — but me." 

" You are hurt, young sir. Stoop your head and let 
me see." 

" No," sighed Barnabas, " I 'm well enough. Come, let 
me take you to Clemency." 

So, without more ado, they left that dreary place, and 
walked on together side by side and very silent, Barnabas 
with drooping head, and his companion with eyes uplifted 
and ever-moving lips. 

Thus, in a while, they turned into the narrow court, and 
reaching the door of Nick the Cobbler, Barnabas knocked 
and, as they waited, he could see that his companion was 
trembling violently where he leaned beside him against 
the wall. Then the door was opened and Clemency ap- 
peared, her shapely figure outlined against the light 
behind her. 

" Mr. Beverley," she exclaimed, " dear brother, is it 
you — " 

" Yes, Clemency, and — and I have kept my promise, 
I have brought you — " But no need for words ; Clem- 
ency had seen. 

49° The Amateur Gentleman 

" Father ! " she cried, stretching out her arms, " oh, 
dear father ! " 

" Beatrix," said the preacher, his voice very broken, 
" oh, my child, — forgive me — ! " But Clemency had 
caught him in her arms, had drawn him into the little 
shop, and, pillowing the silvery head upon her young 
bosom, folded it there, and so hung above him all sighs, 
and tears, and tender endearments. 

Then Barnabas closed the door upon them and, sighing, 
went upon his way. He walked with lagging step and 
with gaze ever upon the ground, heedless alike of the 
wondering looks of those he passed, or of time, or of 
place, or of the voices that still wailed, and wrangled, 
and roared songs ; conscious only of the pain in his 
head, the dull ache at his heart, and the ever-growing 
doubt and fear within him. 



The star of P cu nabas Beverley, Esquire, was undoubtedly 
in the ascend' m t; no such radiant orb had brightened the 
Fashionable ~> ?rmament since that of a certain Mr. Brum- 
mell had risen to scintillate a while ere it paled and van- 
ished before the royal frown. 

Thus the Fashionable World turned polite eyes to 
mark the course of this new luminary and, if it vaguely 
wondered how long that course might be, it (like the 
perspicacious waiter at the " George ") regarded Barna- 
bas Beverley, Esquire, as one to be nattered, smiled upon, 
and as worthy of all consideration and respect. 

For here was one, not only young, fabulously rich and 
a proved sportsman, but a dandy, besides, with a nice 
taste and originality in matters sartorial, more especially 
in waistcoats and cravats, which articles, as the Fashion- 
able World well knows, are the final gauge of a man's 
depth and possibilities. 

Thus, the waistcoats of Barnabas Beverley, Esquire, 
or their prototypes to a button, were to be met with any 
day sunning themselves in the Mall, and the styles of 
cravat affected by Barnabas Beverley, Esquire, were to 
be observed at the most brilliant functions, bowing in all 

Wherefore, all this considered, what more natural than 
that the Fashionable World should desire to make obla- 
tion to this, its newest (and consequently most admired) 
ornament, and how better than to feed him, since ban- 
quets are a holy rite sanctified by custom and tradition? 

Hence, the Fashionable World appointed and set apart 

492 The Amateur Gentleman 

a day whereon, with all due pomp and solemnity, to eat 
and drink to the glory and honor of Barnabas Beverley, 

Nevertheless (perverse fate!) Barnabas Beverley was 
not happy, for, though his smile was as ready as his 
tongue, yet, even amid the glittering throng, yea, despite 
the soft beams of Beauty's eyes, his brow would at times 
grow dark and sombre, and his white, strong fingers clench 
themselves upon the dainty handkerchief of lace and cam- 
bric fashion required him to carry. Yeib-even this was 
accepted in all good faith, and conseque£ s 7 pale cheeks 
and a romantic gloom became the mode. ^ 

No, indeed, Barnabas was not happy, sirfde needs must 
he think ever of Cleone. Two letters had he written her, 
the first a humble supplication, the second an angry de- 
mand couched in terms of bitter reproach. Yet Cleone 
gave no sign; and the days passed. Therefore, being 
himself young and proud, he wrote no more, and waited 
for some word of explanation, some sign from her; then, 
as the days lengthened into weeks, he set himself resolutely 
to forget her, if such a thing might be. 

The better to achieve a thing so impossible, he turned 
to that most fickle of all goddesses whose name is Chance, 
and wooed her fiercely by day and by night. He became 
one of her most devoted slaves ; in noble houses, in clubs 
and hells, he sought her. Calm-eyed, grim-lipped he 
wooed her, yet with dogged assiduity; he became a 
familiar figure at those very select gaming-tables where 
play was highest, and tales of his recklessness and wild 
prodigality began to circulate; tales of huge sums won 
and lost with the same calm indifference^ that quiet 
gravity which marked him in all things. 

Thus a fortnight has elapsed, and to-night the star 
of Barnabas Beverley, Esquire, has indeed attained its 
grand climacteric, for to-night he is to eat and drink 
with ROYALTY, and the Fashionable World is to do 
him honoT. 

And yet, as he stands before his mirror, undergoing 

Barnabas Goes to his Triumph 493 

the ordeal of dressing, he would appear almost careless 
of his approaching triumph; his brow is overcast, his 
cheek a little thinner and paler than of yore, and he 
regards his resplendent image in the mirror with lack- 
lustre eyes. 

" Your cravat, sir," says Peterby, retreating a few 
paces and with his head to one side the better to observe 
its effect, " your cravat is, I fear, a trifle too redundant 
in its lower folds, and a little severe, perhaps — " 

" It is excellent, John ! And you say — there is still 
no letter from — from Hawkhurst ? " 

" No, sir, none," answered Peterby abstractedly, and 
leaning forward to administer a gentle pull to the flowered 
waistcoat. " This coat, sir, is very well, I think, and yet 
— y-e-es, perhaps it might be a shade higher in the 
collar, and a thought tighter at the waist. Still, it is 
very well on the whole, and these flattened revers are an 
innovation that will be quite the vogue before the week is 
out. You are satisfied with the coat, I hope, sir? " 

" Perfectly, John, and — should a letter come while I 
am at the banquet you will send it on — at once, John." 

" At once, sir ! " nodded Peterby, crouching down to 
view his young master's shapely legs in profile. " Mr. 
Brummell was highly esteemed for his loop and button 
at the ankle, sir, but I think our ribbon is better, and 
less conspicuous, that alone should cause a sensation." 

" Unless, John," sighed Barnabas, " unless I receive 
a word to-night I shall drive down to Hawkhurst as soon 
as I can get away, so have the curricle and grays ready, 
will you? " 

" Yes, sir. Pardon me one moment, there is a wrinkle 
in your left stocking, silk stockings are very apt to — " 

But here the legs of the Gentleman-in-Powder planted 
themselves quivering on the threshold to announce : — 

" Viscount Devenham ! " 

He still carried his arm in a sling, but, excepting this, 
the Viscount was himself again, bright-eyed, smiling and 
debonair. But now, as Peterby withdrew, and Barnabas 

494 The Amateur Gentleman 

turned to greet him, gravely polite — he hesitated, 
frowned, and seemed a little at a loss. 

" Egad ! " said he ruefully, " it seems a deuce of a time 
since we saw each other, Beverley." 

" A fortnight ! " said Barnabas. 

" And it 's been a busy fortnight for both of us, from 
what I hear." 

" Yes, Viscount." 

" Especially for — you." 

" Yes, Viscount." 

" Beverley," said he, staring very hard at the toe of his 
varnished shoe, " do you remember the white-haired man. 
we met, who called himself an Apostle of Peace? " 

" Yes, Viscount." 

" Do you remember that he said it was meant we should 
be — friends ? " 

" Yes." 

" Well I — think he was right, — I 'm sure he was 
right. I — did n't know how few my friends were until 
I — fell out with you. And so — I 'm here to — to ask 
your pardon, and I — don't know how to do it, only — 
oh, deuce take it ! Will y ou give me your hand, Bev ? " 

But before the words had well left his lips, Barnabas had 
sprang forward, and so they stood, hand clasped in hand, 
looking into each other's eyes as only true friends may. 

"I — we — owe you so much, Bev — Clemency has. 
told me — " 

" Indeed, Dick," said Barnabas, a little hastily, " you. 
are a fortunate man to have won the love of so beautiful 
a woman, and one so noble." 

" My dear fellow," said the Viscount, very solemn, " it 
is so wonderful that, sometimes, I — almost fear that it 
can't be true." 

" The love of a woman is generally a very uncertain 
thing! " said Barnabas bitterly. 

" But Clemency is n't like an ordinary woman," said the 
Viscount, smiling very tenderly, " in all the world there is 
only one Clemency and she is all truth, and honor, and 

Barnabas Goes to his Triumph 495 

purity. Sometimes, Bev, I feel so — so deuced unworthy, 
that I am almost afraid to touch her." 

" Yes, I suppose there are a few such women in the 
world," said Barnabas, turning away. " But, speaking of 
the Apostle of Peace, have you met him again — lately? " 

" No, not since that morning behind the 6 Spotted Cow.' 
Why? " 

" Well, you mentioned him." 

" Why yes, but only because I could n't think of any 
other way of — er — beginning. You were so devilish 
high and haughty, Bev." 

" And what of Clemency? " 

" She has promised to — to marry me, next month, — 
to marry me — me, Bev. Oh, my dear fellow, I 'm the 
very happiest man alive, and, egad, that reminds me! 
I 'm also the discredited and disinherited son of a flinty- 
hearted Roman." 

" What Dick, — do you mean he has — cut you off? " 

" As much as ever he could, my dear fellow, which 
reduces my income by a half. Deuced serious thing, 
y' know, Bev. Shall have to get rid of my stable, and 
the coach ; * Moonraker ' must go, too, I 'm afraid. Yes, 
Bev," sighed the Viscount, shaking his head at the re- 
flection of his elegant person in the mirror, " you behold 
in me a beggar, and the cause — Clemency. But then, I 
know I am the very happiest beggar in all this wide 
world, and the cause — Clemency ! " 

" I feared your father would never favor such a match, 
Dick, but — " 

" Favor it ! Oh, bruise and blister me ! — " 

" Have you told Clemency? " 

" Not yet — " 

" Has he seen her? " 

" No, that 's the deuce of it, she 's away with her father, 
y' know. Bit of a mystery about him, I fancy — she made 
me promise to be patient a while, and ask no questions." 

" And where is she? " 

" Have n't the least idea. However, I went down to 

496 The Amateur Gentleman 

beard my Roman, y' know, alone and single handed. 
Great mistake! Had Clemency been with me the flintiest 
of Roman P's would have relented, for who could resist 
— Clemency? As it was, I did my best, Bev — ran over 
her points — I mean — tried to describe her, y' know, 
but it was no go, Bev, no go — things could n't have gone 
worse ! " 


" ' Sir,' says I — in an easy, off-hand tone, my dear 
fellow, and it was after dinner, you '11 understand, — ' Sir, 
I 've decided to act upon your very excellent advice, and 
get married. I intend to settle down, at once ! ' ' Indeed, 
Horatio? ' says he, — (Roman of eye, Bev) 'who is she, 
pray?' 'The most glorious woman in the world, sir!' 
says I. 'Of course,' says he, 'but — which?' This 
steadied me a little, Bev, so I took a fresh grip and began 
again : ' Sir,' says I, ' beauty in itself is a poor thing at 
best — ' ' Therefore,' says my Roman (quick as a flash, 
my dear fellow) ' therefore it is just as well that beauty 
should not come — entirely empty-handed ! ' ' Sir,' says 
I — (calmly, you '11 understand, Bev, but with just suffi- 
cient firmness to let him see that, after all, he was only a 
father) ' Sir,' says I, ' beauty is a transient thing at best, 
unless backed up by virtue, honor, wisdom, courage, truth, 
purity, nobility of soul — ' ' Horatio,' says my father 
(pulling me up short, Bev) ' you do well to put these 
virtues first but, in the wife of the future Earl of Bam- 
borough, I hearken for such common, though necessary 
attributes as birth, breeding, and position, neither of 
which you have yet mentioned, but I 'm impatient, per- 
haps, and these come at the end of your list, — pray 
continue.' ' Sir,' says I, ' my future wife is above such 
petty considerations ! ' ' Ah ! ' says my Roman, ' I feared 
so ! She is then, a — nobody, I presume? ' ' Sir — most 
beautiful girl in all England,' says I. ' Ha ! ' says my 
Roman, nodding, 'then she is a nobody; that settles it.* 
' She 's all that is pure and good ! ' says I. ' And a no- 
body, beyond a doubt ! ' says he. ' She 's everything 

Barnabas Goes to his Triumph 497 

sweet, noble and brave,' says I. ' But — a nobody ! ' says 
he again. Now I '11 confess I grew a little heated at this, 
my dear fellow, though I kept my temper admirably — oh, 
I made every allowance for him, as a self-respecting son 
should, but, though filial, I maintained a front of ada- 
mant, Bev. But, deuce take it! he kept on at me with 
his confounded ' nobody ' so long that I grew restive at 
last and jibbed. ' So you are determined to marry a 
nobody, are you, Horatio? ' says he. ' No, my Lord,' says 
I, rising, (and with an air of crushing finality, Bev) 'I 
am about to be honored with the hand of one who, by 
stress of circumstances, was for some time waiting maid 
at the " Spotted Cow " inn, at Frittenden.' Well, Bev — 
that did it, y' know ! My Roman could n't say a word, 
positively gaped at me and, while he gaped, I bowed, and 
walked out entirely master of the situation. Result — 
independence, happiness, and — beggary." 

" But, Dick, — how shall you live? " 

" Oh, I have an old place at Devenham, in the wilds 
of Kent, — we shall rusticate there." 

" And you will give up Almack's, White's — all the 
glory of the Fashionable World? " 

" Oh, man ! " cried the Viscount, radiant of face, " how 
can all these possibly compare? I shall have Clemency! " 

" But surely you will find it very quiet, after London 
and the clubs? " 

" Yes, it will be very quiet at Devenham, Bev," said 
the Viscount, very gently, " and there are roses there, and 
she loves roses, I know! We shall be alone in the world 
together, — alone! Yes, it will be very quiet, Bev — 
thank heaven ! " 

" The loneliness will pall, after a time, Dick — say a 
month. And the roses will fade and wither — as all 
things must, it seems," said Barnabas bitterly, whereupon 
the Viscount turned and looked at him and laid a hand 
upon his shoulder. 

" Why, Bev," said he, " my dear old Bev, — what is it? 
You 're greatly changed, I think ; it is n't like you to be 

498 The Amateur Gentleman 

a cynic. You are my friend, but if you were my bitterest 
enemy I should forgive you, full and freely, because of 
your behavior to Clemency. My dear fellow, are you 
in any trouble — any danger ? I have been away only a 
week, yet I come back to find the town humming with 
stories of your desperate play. I hear that D'Argenson 
plucked you for close on a thousand the other day — " 

" But I won fifteen hundred the same night, Dick." 

" And lost all that, and more, to the Poodle later ! " 

" Why — one can't always win, Dick." 

" Oh, Bev, my dear fellow, do you remember shaking 
your grave head at me because I once dropped five hun- 
dred in one of the hells? " 

" I fear I must have been very — young then, Dick ! " 

" And to-day, Bev, to-day you are a notorious gambler, 
and you sneer at love! Gad! what a change is here! 
My dear fellow, what does it all mean? " 

Barnabas hesitated, and this history might have been 
very different in the ending but, even as he met the 
Viscount's frank and anxious look, the door was flung 
wide and Tressider, the thinnish, youngish gentleman in 
sandy whiskers, rushed in, followed by the Marquis and 
three or four other fine gentlemen, and, beholding the 
Viscount, burst into a torrent of speech: 

" Ha ! Devenham ! there you are, — back from the 
wilds, eh? Heard the latest? No, I '11 be shot if you 
have — none of you have, and I 'm bursting to tell it — 
positively exploding, damme if I 'm not. It was last night, 
at Crockford's you '11 understand, and every one was there 
— Skiflfy, Apollo, the Poodle, Red Herrings, No-grow, the 
Galloping Countryman and your obedient humble. One 
o'clock was striking as the game broke up, and there 's 
Beverley yawning and waiting for his hat, d' ye see, when 
in comes the Golden Ball. 6 Ha, Beverley ! ' says he, s you 
gamble, they tell me ? ' ' Oh, now and then,' says Beverley. 
' Why then,' says Golden Ball, ' you may have heard that 
I do a little that way, myself? ' ' Now you mention it, I 
believe I have,' says Beverley. ' Ha ! ' says Golden Ball, 

Barnabas Goes to his Triumph 499 

winking at the rest of us, ' suppose we have a match, you 
and I — call your game.' ' Sir,' says Beverley, yawning 
again, ' it is past one o'clock, and I make it a rule never 
to play after one o'clock except for rather high stakes,' 
(Rather high stakes says he! and to the Golden Ball, — 
oh curse me!) ' Do you, begad! ' says Golden Ball, purple 
in the face — 6 ha ! you may have heard that I occasionally 
venture a hundred or so myself — whatever the hour ! 
Waiter — cards ! ' ' Sir,' says Beverley, 6 1 've been play- 
ing ever since three o'clock this afternoon and I 'm weary 
of cards.' ' Oh, just as you wish,' says Golden Ball, 6 at 
battledore and shuttlecock I 'm your man, or rolling the 
bones, or — ' ' Dice, by all means ! ' says Beverley, yawn- 
ing again. ' At how much a throw? ' says Golden Ball, 
sitting down and rattling the box. ' Well,' says Beverley, 
6 a thousand, I think, should do to begin with ! ' ('A thou- 
sand,' says he, damme if he didn't!) Oh Gad, but you 
should have seen the Golden Ball, what with surprise and 
his cravat, I thought he 'd choke — shoot me if I did n't ! 
' Done ! ' says he at last ( for we were all round the table 
thick as flies you '11 understand) — and to it they went, 
and in less than a quarter of an hour, Beverley had 
bubbled him of close on seven thousand! Quickest thing 
I ever saw, oh, curse me ! " 

" Oh, Bev," sighed the Viscount, under cover of the 
ensuing talk and laughter, " what a perfectly reckless 
fellow you are ! " 

" Why, you see, Dick," Barnabas answered, as Peterby 
re-entered with his hat and cloak, " a man can't always 

" Beverley," said the Marquis, proffering his arm, " I 
have my chariot below; I thought we might drive round 
to the club together, you and Devenham and I, if you 
are ready? " 

" Thank you, Marquis, yes, I 'm quite ready." 

Thus, with a Marquis on his right, and a Viscount on 
his left, and divers noble gentlemen in his train, Barnabas 
went forth to his triumph. 



Never had White's, that historic club, gathered beneath 
its roof a more distinguished company; dukes, royal and 
otherwise, elbow each other on the stairs ; earls and mar- 
quises sit cheek by jowl; viscounts and baronets exchange 
snuff-boxes in corners, but one and all take due and 
reverent heed of the flattened revers and the innovation 
of the riband. 

Yes, White's is full to overflowing for, to-night, half 
the Fashionable World is here, that is to say, the mascu- 
line half; beaux and wits; bucks and Corinthians; 
dandies and macaronis ; all are here and, each and every, 
with the fixed and unshakable purpose of eating and 
drinking to the glory and honor of Barnabas Beverley, 
Esquire. Here, also, is a certain " Mr. Norton," whom 
Barnabas immediately recognizes by reason of his waist- 
coat and his whiskers. And Mr. Norton is particularly 
affable and is graciously pleased to commend the afore- 
said flattened revers and riband; indeed so taken with 
them is he, that he keeps their wearer beside him, and 
even condescends to lean upon his arm as far as the 

Forthwith the banquet begins and the air hums with 
talk and laughter punctuated by the popping of corks; 
waiters hurry to and fro, dishes come and dishes vanish* 
and ever the laughter grows, and the buzz of talk swells 

And Barnabas? Himself "the glass of fashion and 
the mould of form," in very truth " the observed of all 
observers," surely to-night he should be happy! For the 

How Barnabas Triumphed 501 

soaring pinions of } r outh have borne him up and up at 
last, into the empyrean, far, far above the commonplace; 
the " Coursing Hound," with its faded sign and weather- 
beaten gables, has been lost to view long and long ago 
(if it ever really existed), and to-night he stands above 
the clouds, his foot upon the topmost pinnacle; and 
surely man can attain no higher, for to-night he feasts 
with princes. 

Thus Barnabas sits among the glare and glitter of it 
all, smiling at one, bowing to another, speaking with all 
by turns, and wondering in his heart — if there is yet any 
letter from Hawkhurst. And now the hurrying tread of 
waiters ceases, the ring and clatter of glass and silver is 
hushed, the hum of talk and laughter dies away, and a 
mottle-faced gentleman rises, and, clutching himself by 
the shirt-frill with one hand, and elevating a brimming 
glass in the other, clears his throat, and holds forth in 
this wise: 

" Gentlemen, I 'm an Englishman, therefore I 'm blunt, 
— deuced blunt — damned blunt ! Gentlemen, I desire 
to speak a word upon this happy and memorable occa- 
sion, and my word is this: Being an Englishman I very 
naturally admire pluck and daring — Mr. Beverley has 
pluck and daring — therefore I drink to him. Gentle- 
men, we need such true-blue Englishmen as Beverley to 
keep an eye on old Bony; it is such men as Beverley 
who make the damned foreigners shake in their accursed 
shoes. So long as we have such men as Beverley amongst 
us, England will scorn the foreign yoke and stand forth 
triumphant, first in peace, first in war. Gentlemen, I 
give you Mr. Beverley, as he is a true Sportsman I hon^ 
him, as he is an Englishman he is my friend. Mr. Bev- 
erley, gentlemen ! " 

Hereupon the mottle-faced gentleman lets go of his 
shirt-frill, bows to Barnabas and, tossing off his wine, 
sits down amid loud acclamations and a roaring chorus 
of " Beverley! Beverley! " accompanied by much clinking 
of glasses. 

502 The Amateur Gentleman 

And now, in their turn, divers other noble gentlemen 
rise in their places and deliver themselves of speeches, 
more or less eloquent, flowery, witty and laudatory, but, 
one and all, full of the name and excellences of Barna- 
bas Beverley, Esquire; who duly learns that he is a 
Maecenas of Fashion, a sportsman through and through, 
a shining light, and one of the bulwarks of Old England, 
b'gad! etc., etc., etc. 

To all of which he listens with varying emotions, and 
with one eye upon the door, fervently hoping for the 
letter so long expected. But the time is come for him 
to respond; all eyes are upon him, and all glasses are 
filled: even the waiters become deferentially interested as, 
amid welcoming shouts, the guest of the evening rises, a 
little flushed, a little nervous, yet steady of eye. 

And as Barnabas stands there, an elegant figure, tall 
and graceful, all eyes may behold again the excellent fit 
of that wonderful coat, its dashing cut and flattened 
revers, while all ears await his words. But, or ever he 
can speak, upon this silence is heard the tread of heavy 
feet beyond the door and Barnabas glances there eagerly, 
ever mindful of the letter from Hawkhurst; but the feet 
have stopped and, stifling a sigh, he begins : 

" My Lords and gentlemen ! So much am I conscious 
of the profound honor you do me, that I find it difficult 
to express my - — " 

But here again a disturbance is heard at the door — a 
shuffle of feet and the mutter of voices, and he pauses ex- 
pectant ; whereat his auditors cry angrily for " silence ! " 
which being duly accorded, he begins again : 

" Indeed, gentlemen, I fear no words of mine, however 
eloquent, can sufficiently express to you all my — " 

" Oh, Barnabas," cries a deep voice; " yes, it is Barna- 
bas ! " Even as the words are uttered, the group of pro- 
testing waiters in the doorway are swept aside by a 
mighty arm, and a figure strides into the banqueting- 
room, a handsome figure, despite its country habiliments, 
9 commanding figure by reason of its stature and great 

How Barnabas Triumphed 503 

spread of shoulder, and John Barty stands there, blinking 
in the light of the many candles. 

Then Barnabas closed his eyes and, reaching out, set 
his hand upon the back of a chair near by, and so stood,, 
with bent head and a strange roaring in his ears. Little 
by little this noise grew less until he could hear voices 
about him, an angry clamor: 

" Put him out ! " 

" Throw the rascal into the street ! " 

" Kick him downstairs, somebody ! " 

And, amid this ever-growing tumult, Barnabas could 
distinguish his father's voice, and in it was a note he had 
never heard before, something of pleading, something of 

"Barnabas? Barnabas? Oh, this be you, my lad — 
bean't it, Barnabas? " 

Yet still he stood with bent head, his griping fingers 
clenched hard upon the chair-back, while the clamor about 
him grew ever louder and more threatening. 

" Throw him out ! " 

" Pitch the fellow downstairs, somebody ! " 

" Jove ! " exclaimed the Marquis, rising and buttoning 
his coat, " if nobody else will, I '11 have a try at him 
myself. Looks a promising cove, as if he might fib well. 
Come now, my good fellow, you must either get out of 
here or — put 'em up, you know, — dooce take me, but 
you must ! " 

But as he advanced, Barnabas lifted his head and stay- 
ing him with a gesture, turned and beheld his father 
standing alone, the centre of an angry circle. And John 
Barty's eyes were wide and troubled, and his usually 
ruddy cheek showed pale, though with something more 
than fear as, glancing slowly round the ring of threaten- 
ing figures that hemmed him in, he beheld the white, 
stricken face of his son. And, seeing it, John Barty 
groaned, and so took a step towards the door; but no 
man moved to give him way. 

"A — a mistake, gentlemen," he muttered, "I — I '11 

504 The Amateur Gentleman 

go ! " Then, even as the stammering words were uttered, 
Barnabas strode forward into the circle and, slipping 
a hand within his father's nerveless arm, looked round 
Tipon the company, pale of cheek, but with head carried 

" My Lords ! " said he, " gentlemen ! I have the honor 

— to introduce to you — John Barty, sometime known 
as * Glorious John ' — ex-champion of England and — 
landlord of the 'Coursing Hound' inn — my father!" 

A moment of silence! A stillness so profound that it 
seemed no man drew breath ; a long, long moment wherein 
Barnabas felt himself a target for all eyes — eyes wherein 
he thought to see amazement that changed into dismay 
which, in turn, gave place to an ever-growing scorn of 
him. Therefore he turned his back upon them all and, 
coming to the great window, stood there staring blindly 
into the dark street. 

" Oh, Barnabas ! " he heard his father saying, though 
as from a long way off, " Barnabas lad, I — I — Oh, 
Barnabas — they're going! They're leaving you, and 

— it 's all my fault, lad ! Oh, Barnabas, — what have I 
done ! It 's my fault, lad — all my fault. But I heard 
you was sick, Barnabas, and like to die, — ill, and calling 
for me, — for your father, Barnabas. And now — Oh, 
my lad! my lad! — what have I done?" 

" Never blame yourself, father, it — was n't your 
fault," said Barnabas with twitching lips, for from the 
great room behind him came the clatter of chairs, the 
tread of feet, with voices and stifled laughter that grew 
fainter and fainter, yet left a sting behind. 

" Come away, John," said a voice, " we 've done enough 
to-night — come away ! " 

"Yes, Natty Bell, yes, I be coming — coming. Oh, 
Barnabas, my lad, — my lad, — forgive me ! " 

Now in a while Barnabas turned; and behold! the 
candles glowed as brightly as ever, silver and glass shone 
and glittered as bravely as ever, but — the great room 
was empty, that is to say — very nearly. Of all that 

How Barnabas Triumphed 505 

brilliant and fashionable company but two remained. 
Very lonely figures they looked, seated at the deserted 
table — the Viscount, crumbling up bread and staring at 
the table-cloth, and the Marquis, fidgeting with his snuff- 
box, and frowning at the ceiling. 

To these solitary figures Barnabas spoke, albeit his- 
voice was hoarse and by no means steady : 

" My Lords," said he, " why have n't you — followed 
the others? " 

" Why, you see," began the Marquis, frowning at the 
ceiling harder than ever, and flicking open his snuff-box, 
" you see — speaking for myself, of course, I say speaking 
for myself, I — hum ! — the fact is — ha ! — that is to- 
say — oh, dooce take it ! " And, in his distress, he 
actually inhaled a pinch of snuff and immediately fell 
a-sneezing, with a muffled curse after every sneeze. 

" Sirs," said Barnabas, " I think you 'd better go. You. 
will be less — conspicuous. Indeed, you 'd better go." 

" Go ? " repeated the Viscount, rising suddenly. " Go» 
is it? No, damme if we do! If you are John Barty's 
son, you are still my friend, and — there 's my hand — > 

" Mine — too ! " sneezed the Marquis, " 's soon as I 've 
got over the — 'ffects of this s-snuff — with a curse 
to it!" 

" Oh Dick ! " said Barnabas, his head drooping* 
" Marquis — " 

" Name 's Bob to — my friends ! " gasped the Marquis 
from behind his handkerchief. " Oh, damn this snuff ! " 

" Why, Bev," said the Viscount, " don't take it so 
much to heart, man. Deuced unpleasant, of course, but 
it '11 all blow over, y' know. A week from now and they '11 
all come crawling back, y' know, if you only have the- 
courage to outface 'em. And we are with him — are n't 
we, Jerny? " 

" Of course ! " answered the Marquis, " dooce take me 
— yes ! So would poor old Sling have been." 

" Sirs," said Barnabas, reaching out and grasping a 

506 The Amateur Gentleman 

liand of each, " with your friendship to hearten me — all 
things are possible — even this ! " 

But here a waiter appeared bearing a tray, and on the 
tray a letter; he was a young waiter, a very knowing 
waiter, hence his demeanor towards Barnabas had already 
undergone a subtle change — he stared at Barnabas with 
inquisitive eyes and even forgot to bow until — observing 
the Viscount's eye and the Marquis's chin, his back be- 
came immediately subservient and he tendered Barnabas 
the letter with a profound obeisance. 

With a murmured apology Barnabas took it and, 
breaking the seal, read these words in Cleone's writing: 

" You have destroyed my faith, and with my faith all 
else. Farewell." 

Then Barnabas laughed, sudden and sharp, and tore 
the paper across and across, and dropping the pieces to 
the floor, set his foot upon them. 

" Friends," said he, " my future is decided for me. I 
thank you deeply, deeply for your brave friendship — 
your noble loyalty, but the fiat has gone forth. To-night 
I leave the World of Fashion for one better suited to 
my birth, for it seems I should be only an amateur 
gentleman, as it were, after all. My Lords, your most 
obedient, humble servant, — good-by ! " 

So Barnabas bowed to each in turn and went forth 
from the scene of his triumph, deliberate of step and with 
head carried high as became a conqueror. 

And thus the star of Barnabas Beverley, Esquire, 
waxed and waned and vanished utterly from the Fashion- 
able Firmament, and, in time, came to be regarded as 
only a comet, after all. 



It was a dark night, the moon obscured as yet by a 
wrack of flying cloud, for a wind was abroad, a rising 
wind that blew in fitful gusts; a boisterous, blustering* 
bullying wind that met the traveller at sudden corners to 
choke and buffet him and so was gone, roaring away 
among roofs and chimneys, rattling windows and lattices* 
extinguishing flickering lamps, and filling the dark with 
stir and tumult. 

But Barnabas strode on heedless and deaf to it all. 
Headlong he went, his cloak fluttering, his head stooped 
low, hearing nothing, seeing nothing, taking no thought 
of time or direction, or of his ruined career, since none 
of these were in his mind, but only the words of Cleone's 

And slowly a great anger came upon him with a cold 
and bitter scorn of her that cast out sorrow; thus, as he 
went, he laughed suddenly, — a shrill laugh that rose 
above the howl of the wind, that grew even wilder and 
louder until he was forced to stop and lean against an 
iron railing close by. 

" An Amateur Gentleman ! " he gasped, " An Amateur 
Gentleman ! Oh, fool ! fool ! " And once again the fierce- 
laughter shook him in its grip and, passing, left him 
weak and breathless. 

Through some rift in the clouds, the moon cast a. 
fugitive beam and thus he found himself looking down 
into a deep and narrow area where a flight of damp* 
stone steps led down to a gloomy door; and beside the- 
door was a window, and the window was open. 

508 The Amateur Gentleman 

Now as he gazed, the area, and the damp steps, and 
the gloomy door all seemed familiar ; therefore he stepped 
back, and gazing up, saw a high, flat-fronted house, surely 
that same unlovely house at whose brass-knockered front 
door Captain Slingsby of the Guards had once stood and 
rapped with trembling hand. 

The place was very silent, and very dark, save for one 
window where burned a dim light, and, moved by sudden 
impulse, Barnabas strode forward and, mounting the two 
steps, seized the knocker ; but, even as he did so the door 
moved. Slowly, slowly it opened, swinging back on noise- 
less hinges, wider and wider until Barnabas could look 
into the dimness of the unlighted hall beyond. Then, 
while he yet stood hesitating, he heard a sound, very faint 
and sweet, like the chime of fairy bells, and from the dark 
a face peered forth, a face drawn, and lined, and ghastly 
pale, whose staring eyes were wide with horror. 

" You ! " said a voice, speaking in a harsh whisper, 
" is it you? Alas, Barnaby Bright! what would you — 
here? Go away! Go away! Here is an evil place, a 
place of sin, and horror, and blood — go away ! go 
away ! " 

" But," said Barnabas, " I wish to see — " 

" Oh, Barnaby Bright, — hear me ! Did I not tell you 
he was marked for destruction, that evil begetteth evil, 
and the sword, the sword? I have watched, and watched, 
and to-night my watch is ended ! Go away ! Go away ! " 

" What is it? what do you mean? " demanded Barnabas. 

With his eyes still fixed and staring, and without turn- 
ing his head, Billy Button raised one hand to point with a 
rigid finger at the wall, just within the doorway. 

" Look ! " he whispered. 

Then, glancing where he pointed, Barnabas saw a mark 
upon the panelling — a blur like the shadow of a hand ; 
but even as he stared at it, Billy Button, shuddering, 
passed his sleeve across it and lo ! it was gone ! 

" Oh, Barnaby Bright ! " he whispered, " there is a 
shadow upon this place, as black as death, even as I 

The Ticking of a Clock 509 

told you — flee from the shadow, — come away ! come 
away ! " 

As he breathed the words, the madman sprang past 
him down the steps, tossed up his long arms towards the 
moon with a wild, imploring gesture, and turning, scudded 
away on his naked, silent feet. 

Now after a while Barnabas stepped into the gloomy 
hall and stood listening; the house was very silent, only 
upon the stillness he could hear the loud, deliberate tick 
of the wizen-faced clock upon the stairs, and, as he stood 
there, it seemed to him that to-night it was trying to tell 
him something. Barnabas shivered suddenly and drew his 
long cloak about him, then, closing the door, took a step 
along the dark hall, yet paused to listen again, for now it 
seemed to him that the tick of the clock was louder than 

"Go— back! Go— back!" 

Could that be what it meant? Barnabas raised a hand 
to his brow and, though he still shivered, felt it suddenly 
moist and clammy. Then, clenching his teeth, he crept 
forward, guiding himself by the wall; yet as he went, 
above the shuffle of his feet, above the rustle of his cloak 
against the panelling, he could hear the tick of the clock 
— ever louder, ever more insistent : 

"Go — back! Go — back!" 

He reached the stairs at last and, groping for the banis- 
ter, began to ascend slowly and cautiously, often paus- 
ing to listen, and to stare into the darkness before and 
behind. On he went and up, past the wizen-faced clock, 
and so reached the upper hall at the further end of which 
was the dim light that shone from behind a half-closed 

Being come to the door, Barnabas lifted his hand to 
knock, yet stood again hesitating, his chin on his shoulder, 
his eyes searching the darkness behind him, whence came 
the slow, solemn ticking of the clock : 

" Come — back ! Come — back ! " 

For a long moment he stood thus, then, quick and 

510 The Amateur Gentleman 

sudden, he threw wide the door and stepped into the 

A candle flared and guttered upon the mantel, and by 
this flickering light he saw an overturned chair, and, be- 
yond that, a litter of scattered papers and documents and, 
beyond that again, Jasper Gaunt seated at his desk in the 
corner. He was lolling back in his chair like one asleep, 
and yet — was this sleep ? 

Something in his attitude, something in the appalling 
stillness of that lolling figure, something in the utter quiet 
of the whole place, filled Barnabas with a nameless, grow- 
ing horror. He took a step nearer, another, and another 
— then stopped and, uttering a choking gasp, fell back to 
the wall and leaned there suddenly faint and sick. For, 
indeed, this was more than sleep. Jasper Gaunt lolled 
there, a horrid, bedabbled thing, with his head at a 
hideous angle and the dagger, which had been wont to 
glitter so evilly from the wall, smitten sideways through 
his throat. 

Barnabas crouched against the wall, his gaze riveted by 
the dull gleam of the steel; and upon the silence, now, 
there crept another sound soft and regular, a small, 
dull, plashing sound; and, knowing what it was, he closed 
his eyes and the faintness grew upon him. At length he 
sighed and, shuddering, lifted his head and moved a back- 
ward step toward the door; thus it was he chanced to 
see Jasper Gaunt's right hand — that white, carefully- 
tended right hand, whose long, smooth fingers had clenched 
themselves even tighter in death than they had done in 
life. And, in their rigid grasp was something that struck 
Barnabas motionless; that brought him back slowly, 
slowly across that awful room to sink upon one knee 
above that pale, clenched hand, while, sweating, shudder- 
ing with loathing, he forced open those stiffening fingers 
and drew from their dead clutch something that he stared 
at with dilating eyes, and with white lips suddenly com- 
pressed, ere he hid it away in his pocket. 

Then, shivering, he arose and backed away, feeling 

The Ticking of a Clock 511 

behind him for the door, and so passed out into the pas- 
sage and down the stairs, but always with his pale face 
turned toward the dim-lit room where Jasper Gaunt lolled 
in his chair, a bedabbled, wide-eyed thing of horror, star- 
ing up at the dingy ceiling. 

Thus, moving ever backwards, Barnabas came to the 
front door, felt for the catch, but, with his hand upon it, 
paused once more to listen; yet heard only the thick 
beating of his own heart, and the loud, deliberate ticking 
of the wizen-faced clock upon the stairs. And now, as he 
hearkened, it seemed to him that it spoke no more but 
had taken on a new and more awful sound; for now its 
slow, rhythmic beat was hatefully like another sound, 
a soft sound and regular, a small, dull, plashing sound, 
— the awful tap ! tap ! tap ! of great, slow-falling drops 
of blood. 



With this dreadful sound in his ears, Barnabas hurried 
away from that place of horror; but ever the sound pur- 
sued him, it echoed in his step, it panted in his quickened 
breathing, it throbbed in the pulsing of his heart. Wher- 
ever he looked, there always was Jasper Gaunt lolling in 
his chair with his head dangling at its horrible angle, 
— the very night was full of him. 

Hot-foot went Barnabas, by dingy streets and silent 
houses, and with his chin now on one shoulder, now on 
the other; and thus, he presently found himself before a 
certain door and, remembering its faulty catch, tried it 
but found it fast. Therefore he knocked, softly at first, 
but louder and louder until at length the door was plucked 
suddenly open and a woman appeared, a slatternly crea- 
ture who bore a candle none too steadily. 

" Now then, owdacious," she began, somewhat slurring 
of speech. " What d' ye want — this time o' night — 
knocking at 'spectable door of a person? " 

" Is Mr. Barrymaine in? " 

" Mist' Barrymaine? " repeated the woman, scattering 
grease-spots as she raised the candle in her unsteady 
hand, " what d' ye wan' this time o' — " 

Here, becoming aware of the magnificence of the vis- 
itor's attire, she dropped Barnabas a floundering curtsy 
and showered the step with grease-spots. 

" Can I see Mr. Barrymaine? " 

" Yes, sir — this way, sir, an' min' the step, sir. See 
Mist' Barrymaine, yes, sir, firs' floor — an' would you be 

The Horrors of Remorse 5 1 3 

so good as to ax 'im to keep 'is feet still, or, as you might 
say, 'is trotters, sir — " 

"His feet?" 

" Also 'is legs, sir, if you 'd be so very obleeging, sir." 

" What do you mean? " 

" Come an' listen, sir ! " So saying, the woman opened 
a door and stood with a finger pointing unsteadily up- 
wards. " Been a-doing of it ever since 'e came in a hour 
ago. It ain't loud, p'r'aps, but it 's worriting — very 
worriting. If 'e wants to dance 'e might move about a. 
bit 'stead o' keeping in one place all the time — 'ark ! "' 
And she pointed with her quavering finger to a certain 
part of the ceiling whence came the tramp ! tramp ! of 
restless feet; and yet the feet never moved away. 

" I '11 go up ! " said Barnabas, and, nodding to the 
slatternly woman, he hurried along the passage and 
mounting the dark stair, paused before a dingy door. 
Now, setting his ear to the panel, he heard a sound — a 
muffled sound, hoarse but continuous, ever and anon rising 
to a wail only to sink again, yet never quite ceasing. 
Then, feeling the door yield to his hand, Barnabas opened 
it and, stepping softly into the room, closed it behind 

The place was very dark, except where the moon sent 
a fugitive beam through the uncurtained window, and 
face downward across this pale light lay a huddled figure 
from whose unseen lips the sounds issued — long, awful, 
gasping sobs; a figure that stirred and writhed like one 
in torment, whose clenched hands beat themselves upon 
the frayed carpet, while, between the sobbing and the beat I 
of those clenched hands, came broken prayers intermingled 
with oaths and moaning protestations. 

Barnabas drew a step nearer, and, on the instant, the 
grovelling figure started up to an elbow; thus, stooping 
down, Barnabas looked into the haggard face of Ronald 

"Beverley!" he gasped, " w-what d' you want? Go 
away, — l-leave me ! " 

514 The Amateur Gentleman 

" No ! " said Barnabas, " it is you who must go away 

— at once. You must leave London to-night ! " 
" W-what d' you mean? " 

" You must be clear of England by to-morrow night 
at latest." 

Barrymaine stared up at Barnabas wide-eyed and 
passed his tongue to and fro across his lips before he 
spoke again: 

" Beverley, w-what d' you — mean? " 

" I know why you keep your right hand hidden ! " 
said Barnabas. 

Barrymaine shivered suddenly, but his fixed stare never 
wavered, only, as he crouched there, striving to speak yet 
finding no voice, upon his furrowed brow and pallid cheek 
ran glittering lines of sweat. At last he contrived to 
speak again, but in a whisper now: 

" W-what do you mean? " 

" I mean that to-night I found this scrap of cloth, and 
I recognized it as part of the cuff of your sleeve, and I 
found it clenched in Jasper Gaunt's dead hand." 

With a hoarse, gasping cry Barrymaine cast himself 
face down upon the floor again and writhed there like one 
in agony. 

" I d-did n't mean to — oh, God ! I never m-meant it ! " 
he groaned and, starting to his knees, he caught at Barna- 
bas with wild, imploring hands : " Oh, Beverley, I s-swear 
to you I n-never meant to do it. I went there to-night 
to 1-learn the truth, and he th-threatened me — threat- 
ened me, I tell you, s-so we fought and he was s-strong 
and swung me against the w-wall. And then, Beverley 

— as' we s-struggled — somehow I g-got hold of — of 
the dagger and struck at him — b-blindly. And — oh, 
my God, Beverley — I shall never forget how he — 
ch-choked ! I can hear it now ! But I did n't mean to 

— do it. Oh, I s-swear I never meant it, Beverley — 
s-so help me, God!" 

" But he is dead," said Barnabas, " and now — " 
" Y-you won't give me up, Beverley?" cried Barry- 

The Horrors of Remorse 515 

maine, clinging to his knees. " I wronged you, I know — 
n-now, but don't g-give me up. I J m not afraid to d-die 
like a g-gentleman should, but — the gallows — oh, my 

" No, you must be saved — from that ! " 

" Ah — w-will you help me ? " 

" That is why I came." 

"W-what must I do?" 

" Start for Dover — to-night." 

" Yes — yes, Dover. B-but I have no money." 

" Here are twenty guineas, they will help you well 
on your way. When they are gone you shall have 

" Beverley, I — wronged you, but I know now who my 
c-creditor really is — I know who has been m-my enemy 
all along — oh, blind f-f ool that I 've been, — but I know 

— now. And I think it 's t-turned my brain. Beverley, 

— my head 's all confused — wish D-Dig were here. But 
I shall be better s-soon. It was D-Dover you said, I 
think? " 

" Yes, — but now, take off that coat." 

" B-but it 's the only one I 've got ! " 

" You shall have mine," said Barnabas and, throwing 
aside his cloak, he stripped off that marvellous garment 
(whose flattened revers were never to become the vogue, 
after all), and laid it upon the table beside Barrymaine 
who seemed as he leaned there to be shaken by strange 
twitchings and tremblings. 

" Oh, Beverley," he muttered, " it would have been a, 
good th-thing for me if somebody had s-strangled me at 
birth. No ! — d-don't light the candle ! " he cried sud- 
denly, for Barnabas had sought and found the tinder-box,, 
"don't! d-don't!" 

But Barnabas struck and the tinder caught, then, as 
the light came, Barrymaine shrank away and away, and, 
crouching against the wall, stared down at himself, at his 
right sleeve ripped and torn, and at certain marks that 
spattered and stained him, here and there, awful marks 

516 The Amateur Gentleman 

much darker than the cloth. Now as he looked, a great 
horror seemed to come upon him, he trembled violently 
and, stumbling forward, sank upon his knees beside the 
table, hiding his sweating face between his arms. And, 
kneeling thus, he uttered soft, strange, unintelligible noises 
and the table shook and quivered under him. 

" Come, you must take off that coat ! " 

Very slowly Barrymaine lifted his heavy head and 
looked at Barnabas with dilating eyes and with his mouth 
strangely drawn and twisted. 

" Oh, Beverley ! " he whispered, "I — I think I 'm — " 

" You must give me that coat ! " persisted Barnabas. 

Still upon his knees, Barrymaine began to fumble at 
the buttons of that stained, betraying garment but, all at 
once, his fingers seemed to grow uncertain, they groped 
aimlessly, fell away, and he spoke in a hoarse whisper, 
while upon his lip was something white, like foam. 

" I — oh I — Beverley, I — c-can't ! " 

And now, all at once, as they stared into each other's 
eyes, Barnabas leaning forward, strong and compelling, 
Barrymaine upon his knees clinging weakly to the table, 
sudden and sharp upon the stillness broke a sound — an 
ominous sound, the stumble of a foot that mounted the 

Uttering a broken cry Barrymaine struggled up to his 
feet, strove desperately to speak, his distorted mouth 
flecked with foam, and beating the air with frantic hands 
pitched over and thudded to the floor. 

Then the door opened and Mr. Smiwle appeared who, 
calling upon Barrymaine's name, ran forward and fell 
upon his knees beside that convulsed and twisted figure. 

" My God, Beverley ! " he cried, " how comes he like 
this — what has happened? " 

" Are you his friend? " 

" Yes, yes, his friend — certainly ! Have n't I told you 
the hand of a Smiwle, sir — " 

" To-night he killed Jasper Gaunt." 

« Eh ? Killed ? Killed him ? " 

The Horrors of Remorse 517 

" Murdered him — though I think more by accident 
than design." 

" Killed him ! Murdered him ! " 

" Yes. Pull yourself together and listen. To-morrow 
the hue and cry will be all over London, we must get him 
away — out of the country if possible." 

" Yes, yes — of course ! But he 's ill — a fit, I think." 

" Have you ever seen him so before? " 

" Never so bad as this. There, Barry, there, my poor 
fellow! Help me to get him on the couch, will you, 
Beverley? " 

Between them they raised that twitching form; then, 
as Mr. Smivvle stooped to set a cushion beneath the 
restless head, he started suddenly back, staring wide- 
eyed and pointing with a shaking finger. 

"My God!" he whispered, "what's that? Look — 
look at his coat." 

" Yes," said Barnabas, " we must have it off." 

" No, no — it 's too awful ! " whimpered Mr. Smivvle, 
shrinking away, " see — it 's — it 's all down the front ! " 

" If this coat is ever found, it will hang him ! " said 
Barnabas. " Come, help me to get it off." 

So between them it was done; thereafter, while Mr. 
Smivvle crouched beside that restless, muttering form, 
Barnabas put on his cloak and, rolling up the torn coat, 
hid it beneath its ample folds. 

"What, are you going, Beverley?" 

" Yes — for one thing to get rid of this coat. On the 
table are twenty guineas, take them, and just so soon as 
Barrymaine is fit to travel, get him away, but above all, 
don't — " 

" Who is it? " cried Barrymaine suddenly, starting up 
and peering wildly over his shoulder, " w-who is it ? Oh, 
I t-tell you there 's s-somebody behind me — who is it ? " 

" Nobody, Barry — not a soul, my poor boy, compose 
yourself ! " But, even as Mr. Smivvle spoke, Barrymaine 
fell back and lay moaning fitfully and with half-closed 
eyes. " Indeed I fear he is very ill, Beverley J " 

5 1 8 The Amateur Gentleman 

" If he is n't better by morning, get a doctor," said 
Barnabas, " but, whatever you do — keep Chichester away 
from him. As regards money I '11 see you shan't want for 
it. And now, for the present, good-by ! " 

So saying, Barnabas caught up his hat and, with a 
last glance at the moaning figure on the couch, went from 
the room and down the stairs, and let himself out into 
the dingy street. 



It was long past midnight when Barnabas reached his 
house in St. James's Square ; and gazing up at its goodly 
exterior he sighed, and thereafter frowned, and so, frown- 
ing still, let himself in. Now, late though the hour, 
Peterby was up, and met him in the hall. 

" Sir," said he, anxious of eye as he beheld his young 
master's disordered dress and the grim pallor of his face, 
" the Marquis of Jerningham and Viscount Devenham 
called. They waited for you, — they waited over an 

" But they are gone now, of course? " inquired Barna- 
bas, pausing, with his foot on the stair. 

"Yes, sir—" 

" Good ! " nodded Barnabas with a sigh of relief. 

" But they left word they would call to-morrow morn- 
ing, early; indeed they seemed most anxious to see you, 

" Ha ! " said Barnabas, and, frowning still, went on up 
the stair. 

" Sir," said Peterby, lighting the way into the dressing- 
room, " you received the — the letter safely? " 

" Yes, I received it," said Barnabas, tossing aside his 
hat and cloak, " and that reminds me, — to-morrow morn- 
ing you will discharge all the servants." 

" Sir? " 

" Pay them a month's wages. Also you will get rid 
of this house and furniture, and all the carriages and 
horses — except * The Terror,' — sell them for what they 

520 The Amateur Gentleman 

will fetch — no matter how little, only — get rid of 

" Yes, sir." 

" As for yourself, Peterby, I shall require your services 
no longer. But you need n't lack for a position — every 
dandy of 'em all will be wild to get you. And, because 
you are the very best valet in the world, you can demand 
your own terms." 

" Yes, sir." 

" And now, I think that is all, I shan't want you again 
to-night — stay though, before I go to bed bring me the 
things I wore when I first met you, the garments which as 
clothes, you told me, did n't exist." 

" Sir, may I ask you a question? " 

" Oh, yes — if you wish," sighed Barnabas, wearily. 

" Are you leaving London, sir ? " 

" I 'm leaving the World of Fashion — yes." 

" And you — don't wish me to accompany you, sir." 

" No." 

" Have I — displeased you in any way? " 

" No, it is only that the 6 best valet in the world ' would 
be wasted on me any longer, and I shall not need you 
where I am going." 

" Not as a — servant, sir ? " 

" No." 

" Then, sir, may I remind you that I am also a — - 
man? A man who owes all that he is to your generosity 
and noble trust and faith. And, sir, it seems to me that 
a man may sometimes venture where a servant may not 
— if you are indeed done with the Fashionable World, I 
have done with it also, for I shall never serve any other 
than you." 

Then Barnabas turned away and coming to the mantel 
leaned there, staring blankly down at the empty hearth; 
and in a while he spoke, though without looking up : 

" The Fashionable World has turned its polite back 
upon me, Peterby, because I am only the son of a village 
inn-keeper. But — much more than this — my lady has 

Barnabas Discharges his Valet 521 

— has lost her faith in me, my fool's dream is over — 
nothing matters any more. And so I am going away to 
a place I have heard described by a pedler of books as ' the 
worst place in the world ' — and indeed I think it is." 
" Sir," said Peterby, " when do we start? " 
Then, very slowly, Barnabas lifted his heavy head and 
looked at John Peterby; and, in that dark hour, smiled, 
and reaching out, caught and grasped his hand; also, 
when he spoke again, his voice was less hard and not so 
steady as before: 

" Oh, John ! " said he, " John Peterby — my faithful 
John ! Come with me if you will, but you come as my — 

"And — where are we going, sir?" inquired John, as 
they stood thus, hand in hand, looking into each other's 

"To Giles's Rents, John, — down by the River." 
And thus did Barnabas, in getting rid of the " best valet 
in the world," find for himself a faithful friend instead. 



Number Five St. James's Square was to let ; its many win- 
dows were blank and shuttered, its portal, which scarcely 
a week ago had been besieged by Fashion, was barred and 
bolted, the Gentleman-in-Powder had vanished quite, and 
with him the glory of Number Five St. James's Square had 
departed utterly. 

Barnabas paused to let his gaze wander over it, from 
roof to pavement, then, smiling a little bitterly, buried his 
chin in the folds of his belcher neckerchief and thrusting 
his hands deep into his pockets, turned and went his way. 

And as he went, smiling still, and still a little bitterly, 
he needs must remember and vaguely wonder what had 
become of all that Polite notepaper, and all those Fashion- 
able cards, embossed, gilt-edged, and otherwise, that had 
been wont to pour upon him every morning, and which 
had so rejoiced the highly susceptible and eloquent legs 
of the Gentleman-in-Powder. 

Evening was falling and the square seemed deserted 
save for a solitary man in a neckcloth of vivid hue, a 
dejected-looking man who lounged against the wall under 
the shade of the trees in the middle of the square, and 
seemed lost in contemplation of his boots. And yet when 
Barnabas, having traversed Charles Street and turned into 
the Haymarket, chanced to look back, he saw that the man 
was lounging dejectedly after him. Therefore Barnabas 
quickened his steps, and, reaching the crowded Strand, 
hurried on through the bustling throng; but just beyond 
Temple Bar, caught a glimpse of the vivid neckcloth on 
the opposite side of the road. Up Chancery Lane and 

Con-elusions Drawn by Mr. Shrig 523 

across Holborn went Barnabas, yet, as he turned down 
Leather Lane, there, sure enough, was the man in the 
neckcloth as dejected as ever, but not twelve yards 

Half-way down crowded Leather Lane Barnabas turned 
off down a less frequented street and halting just beyond 
the corner, waited for his pursuer to come up. And pres- 
ently round the corner he came and, in his hurry, very 
nearly stumbled over Barnabas, who promptly reached 
out a long arm and pinned him by the vivid neckcloth. 

" Why do you follow me? " he demanded. 

" Foller you? " repeated the man. 

" You have been following me all the way." 

" Have I ? " said the man. 

" You know you have. Come, what do you want ? " 

"Well, first," said the man, sighing dejectedly, " leggo 
my neck, will ye be so kind? " 

" Not till you tell me why you follow me." 

" Why, then," said the man, " listen and I '11 tell ye." 

"Well?" demanded Barnabas. 

But, all at once, and quick as a flash, with a wrench and 
a cunning twist, the man had broken away and, taking to 
liis heels, darted off down the street and was gone. 

For a moment Barnabas stood hesitating, undecided 
whether to go on to Barrymaine's lodging or no, and finally 
struck off in the opposite direction, towards Gray's Inn 
Lane and so by devious ways eventually arrived at the 
back door of the " Gun," on which he forthwith knocked. 

It was opened, almost immediately, by Corporal Rich- 
ard Roe himself, who stared a moment, smiled, and there- 
upon extended a huge hand. 

" What, is it you, sir ? " he exclaimed, " for a moment 
I did n't know ye. Step in, sir, step in, we 're proud to 
see ye." 

So saying, he ushered Barnabas down two steps into 
the small but very snug chamber that he remembered, with 
its rows upon rows of shelves whereon a whole regiment 
<of bottles and glasses were drawn up in neat array, 

524 The Amateur Gentleman 

" dressed " and marshalled as if on parade ; it was indeed 
a place of superlative tidiness where everything seemed to 
be in a perpetual state of neatness and order. 

In a great elbow chair beside the ingle, with a cushion 
at his back and another beneath one foot, sat Mr. Shrig 
puffing at a pipe and with his little reader open on the 
table at his elbow. He looked a little thinner and paler 
than usual, and Barnabas noticed that one leg was 
swathed in bandages, but his smile was as innocent and 
guileless and his clasp as warm as ever as they greeted each 

" You must ax-cuse me rising, sir," said he, " the sperrit 
is villing but natur' forbids, it can't be done on account o' 
this here leg o' mine, — a slug through the stamper, d' ye 
see, vich is bad enough, though better than it might ha* 
been. But it vere a good night on the whole, — thanks 
to you and the Corp 'ere, I got the whole gang, — though,, 
from conclusions as I 'd drawed I 'ad 'oped to get — veil, 
shall ve say Number Two ? But Fate was ag'in me. Still, 
I don't complain, and the vay you fought 'em off till the 
Corp and my specials come up vas a vonder ! " 

" Ah ! that it were ! " nodded the Corporal. 

" Though 'ow you wanished yourself avay, and v'ere 
you wanished to, is more vonderful still." 

" Ah, that it is, sir ! " nodded the Corporal again. 

" Why," explained Barnabas, " I was stunned by a 
blow on the head, and when I came to, found myself lying 
out on the wharf behind a broken boat. I should have 
come round here days ago to inquire how you were, Mr. 
Shrig, only that my time has been — much occupied — of 

" Veil, sir," said Mr. Shrig, puffing hard at his pipe, 
" from all accounts I should reckon as it 'ad. By Goles ! 
but ve vas jest talking about you, sir, the werry i-dentical 
moment as you knocked at the door. I vas jest running- 
over my little reader and telling the Corp the v'y and the- 
v'erefore as you could n't ha' done the deed." 

"What deed?" 

Con-elusions Drawn by Mr. Shrig 525 

« y'y — tJi e deed. The deed as all London is a-talking 
of, — the murder o' Jasper Gaunt, the money-lender." 

" Ah ! " said Barnabas thoughtfully. " And so you are 
quite sure that I — did n't murder Jasper Gaunt, are 
you, Mr. Shrig?" 

" Quite — oh, Lord love you, yes ! " 

" And why? " 

" Because," said Mr. Shrig with his guileless smile, and 
puffing out a cloud of smoke and watching it vanish ceiling- 
wards, " because I 'appen to know 'oo did." 

" Oh ! " said Barnabas more thoughtfully than ever. 
" And who do you think it is ? " 

" Veil, sir," answered Mr. Shrig ponderously, " from 
con-elusions as I 've drawed I don't feel at liberty to name 
no names nor yet cast no insinivations, but — v'en the 
other traps (sich werry smart coves too!) 'ave been and 
gone an' arrested all the innercent parties in London, 
v'y then I shall put my castor on my napper, and take 
my tickler in my fib and go and lay my 'ooks on the guilty 

" And when will that be? " 

" Jest so soon as my leg sarves me, sir, — say a veek, 
— say, two." 

" You 're in no hurry then? " 

" Lord, no, sir, I 'm never in an 'urry." 

" And you say you think you know who the murderer 

" V-y no, sir, — from conclusions as I 've drawed I 'm 
sure and sartin 'oo did the deed. But come, sir, vot do 
you say to a glass o' the Vun and Only, to drink a quick 
despatch to the guilty party? " 

But the clock striking eight, Barnabas shook his head 
and rose. 

" Thank you, but I must be going," said he. 

" V'y if you must, you must," sighed Mr. Shrig as they 
shook hands ; " good evening, sir, an' if anything unpleas- 
ant should 'appen to you in the next day or two — jest 
tip me the vord." 

526 The Amateur Gentleman 

" What do you mean by unpleasant, Mr. Shrig? " 

" Veil, took up p'r'aps, or shall ve say — arrested, — 
by some o' the other traps — sich werry smart coves, 
too ! " 

" Do you think it likely, Mr. Shrig? " 

" Veil, sir," said Mr. Shrig, with his placid smile, 
" there 's some traps as is so uncommon smart that they 've 
got an 'abit of arresting innercent parties verever found, 
d' ye see. But if they should 'appen to lay their 'ooks on 
ye, jest tip me the office, sir." 

" Thank you," said Barnabas, " I shan't forget," and, 
with a final nod to Mr. Shrig, turned and followed the 
Corporal into Gray's Inn Lane. 

Now when Barnabas would have gone his way the Cor- 
poral stayed him with a very large but very gentle hand, 
and thereafter stood, rubbing his shaven chin with his 
shining hook and seeming very much abashed. 

" What is it, Corporal? " Barnabas inquired. 

" Well, sir," said the soldier diffidently, " it 's like this, 
sir, my pal Jarsper and me, 'aving heard of — of your — 
altered circumstances, sir, wishes it to be understood as 
once your pals, ever your pals, come shine, come rain. 
We likewise wish it to be understood as if at any time a — 
a guinea would come in 'andy-like, sir — or say two or 
three, my pal Jarsper and me will be proud to oblige, 
proud, sir. And lastly, sir, my pal Jarsper and me would 
'ave you to know as if at any time you want a friend to 
your back, there 's me and there 's 'im — or a roof to your 
'ead, why there 's ever and always the ' Gun ' open to you, 
sir. We wishes you to understand this and — good even- 
ing, sir ! " 

But, or ever the blushing Corporal could escape, Barna- 
bas caught and wrung his hand: 

" And I, Corporal," said he, " I wish you both to know 
that I am proud to have won two such staunch friends, 
and that I shall always esteem it an honor to ask your aid 
or take your hands, — good night, Corporal ! " 

So saying, Barnabas turned upon his heel, and as he 

Con-elusions Drawn by Mr. Shrig 527 

went his step was free and his eye brighter than it had 

He took an intricate course by winding alleys and nar- 
row side-streets, keeping his glance well about him until 
at length he came to a certain door in a certain dingy 
street, — and, finding the faulty latch yield to his hand, 
entered a narrow, dingy hall and groped his way up the 
dingiest stairs in the world. 

Now all at once he fancied he heard a stealthy footstep 
that climbed on in the darkness before him, and he paused 
suddenly, but, hearing nothing, strode on, then stopped 
again for, plain enough this time, some one stumbled on 
the stair above him. So he stood there in the gloom, 
very still and very silent, and thus he presently heard 
another sound, very soft and faint like the breathing of 
a sigh. And all at once Barnabas clenched his teeth and 

" Who is it ? " he demanded fiercely, " now, by God — 
if it 's you, Chichester — " and with the word, he reached 
out before him in the dark with merciless, griping hands. 

The contact of something warm and soft; a broken, 
pitiful cry of fear, and he had a woman in his arms. And, 
even as he clasped that yielding form, Barnabas knew in- 
stinctively who it was, and straightway thrilled with a wild 

" Madam ! " he said hoarsely. " Madam ! " 

But she never stirred, nay it almost seemed she sank yet 
closer into his embrace, if that could well be. 

" Cleone ! " he whispered. 

" Barnabas," sighed a voice ; and surely no other voice 
in all the world could have uttered the word so tenderly. 

"I — I fear I frightened you? " 

" Yes, a little — Barnabas." 

" You are — trembling very much." 

"Am I — Barnabas?" 

" I am sorry that I — frightened you." 

" I 'm better now." 

" Yet you — tremble ! " 

528 The Amateur Gentleman 

" But I — think I can walk if — " 
« if — ? » 

" If you will help me, please — Barnabas." 

Oh, surely never had those dark and dingy stairs, worn 
though they were by the tread of countless feet, heard till 
now a voice so soft, so low and sweet, so altogether irre- 
sistible! Such tender, thrilling tones might have tamed 
Hyrcanean tigers or charmed the ferocity of Cerberus 
himself. Then how might our Barnabas hope to resist, the 
more especially as one arm yet encircled the yielding soft- 
ness of her slender waist and her fragrant breath was 
upon his cheek? 

Help her? Of course he would. 

" It 's so very — dark," she sighed. 

" Yes, it 's very dark," said Barnabas, " but it is n't far 
to the landing — shall we go up? " 

" Yes, but — " my lady hesitated a moment as one 
who takes breath for some great effort, and, in that 
moment, he felt her bosom heave beneath his hand. " Oh, 
Barnabas," she whispered, " won't you — kiss me — 
first? " 

Then Barnabas trembled in his turn, the arm about her 
grew suddenly rigid and, when he spoke, his voice was 
harsh and strained. 

" Madam," said he, " can the mere kiss of an — inn- 
keeper's son restore your dead faith? " 

Now when he had said this, Cleone shrank in his em- 
brace and uttered a loud cry as if he had offered her some 
great wrong, and, breaking from him, was gone before 
him up the stair, running in the dark. 

Oh, Youth! Oh, Pride! 

So Barnabas hurried after her and thus, as she threw 
open Barrymaine's door he entered with her and, in his 
sudden abasement, would have knelt to her, but Ronald 
Barrymaine had sprung up from the couch and now 
leaned there, staring with dazed eyes like one new wakened 
from sleep. 

" Ronald," she cried, running to him, " I came as soon 

Con-elusions Drawn by Mr. Shrig 529 

as I could, but I did n't understand your letter. You 
wrote of some great danger. Oh, Ronald dear, what is 
it — this time?" 

" D-danger ! " he repeated, and with the word, turned 
to stare over his shoulder into the dingiest corner : " d-dan- 
ger, yes, so I am, — but t-tell me who it is — behind me, 
in the corner? " 

" No one, Ronald." 

" Yes — yes there is, I tell you," he whispered, " look 
again — now, d-don't you see him? " 

" No, oh no ! " answered Cleone, clasping her hands, and 
shrinking before Barrymaine's wild and haggard look. 
" Oh, Ronald, there 's — no one there ! " 

"Yes there is, he's always there now — always just 
behind me. Last night he began to talk to me — ah, no, 
no — what am I saying? never heed me, Clo. I — I asked 
you to come because I 'm g-going away, soon, very s-soon, 
Clo, and I know I shall n-never see you again. I suppose 
you thought it was m-money I wanted, but no — it 's not 
that, I wanted to say good-by because you see I 'm g-going 
away — to-night ! " 

"Going away, Ronald?" she repeated, sinking to her 
knees beside the rickety couch, for he had fallen back 
there as though overcome by sudden weakness. " Dear 
boy, where are you going — and why ? " 

" I 'm g-going far away — because I must — the 
s-sooner the better ! " he whispered, struggling to his 
elbow to peer into the corner again. " Yes, the s-sooner 
the better. But, before I go I want you to promise — to 
swear, Clo — to s-swear to me — " Barrymaine sat up 
suddenly and, laying his nervous hands upon her shoul- 
ders, leaned down to her in fierce eagerness, " You must 
s-swear to me n-never to see or have anything to do 
with that d-devil, Chichester, d' ye hear me, Clo, d' ye 
hear me ? " 

" But — oh, Ronald, I don't understand, you always 
told me he was your friend, I thought — " 

" Friend ! " cried Barrymaine passionately. 

530 The Amateur Gentleman 

devil, I tell you he 's a d-devil, oh — " Barrymaine choked 
and fell back gasping; but, even as Cleone leaned above 
him all tender solicitude, he pushed her aside and, spring- 
ing to his feet, reached out and caught Barnabas by the 
arm. " Beverley," he cried, " you '11 shield her from him 
— w-when I 'm gone, you '11 l-look after her, won't you, 
Beverley ? She 's the only thing I ever loved — except 
my accursed self. You will shield her from — that 

Then, still clutching Barnabas, he turned and seized 
Cleone's hands. 

" Clo ! " he cried, " dearest of sisters, if ever you need 
a f-friend when I 'm gone, he 's here. Turn to him, Clo — 
look up — give him your hand. Y-you loved him once, I 
think, and you were right — quite r-right. You can 
t-trust Beverley, Clo — g-give him your hand." 

" No, no ! " cried Cleone, and, snatching her fingers 
from Barrymaine's clasp, she turned away. 

" What — you w-won't? " 

" No — never, never ! " 

" Why not ? Answer me ! Speak, I tell you ! " 

But Cleone knelt there beside the couch, her head 
proudly averted, uttering no word. 

" Why, you don't think, like so many of the fools, that 
he killed Jasper Gaunt, do you? " cried Barrymaine 
feverishly. " You don't think he d-did it, do you — do 
you ? Ah, but he did n't — he did n't, I tell you, and I 
know — because — " 

" Stop ! " exclaimed Barnabas. 

" Stop — no, why should I ? She '11 learn soon enough 
now and I 'm m-man enough to tell her myself — I 'm no 
c-coward, I tell you — " 

Then Cleone raised her head and looked up at her half- 
brother, and in her eyes were a slow-dawning fear and 

" Oh, Ronald! " she whispered, " what do you mean? " 

" Mean? " cried Barrymaine, " I mean that I did it — 
I did it. Yes, I k-killed Jasper Gaunt, but it was no 

Con-elusions Drawn by Mr. Shrig 531 

m-murder, Clo — a — a fight, an accident — yes, I s-swear 
to God I never meant to do it." 

" You! " she whispered, " you? " 

" Yes, I — I did it, but I swear I never m-meant to — 
oh, Cleone — " and he reached down to her with hands 
outstretched appealingly. But Cleone shrank down and 
down — away from him, until she was crouching on 
the floor, yet staring up at him with wide and awful 

" You ! " she whispered. 

" Don't ! " he cried. " Ah, don't look at me like that 
and oh, my God! W-won't you 1-let me t-touch you, 

"I — I 'd rather you — would n't ; " and Barnabas saw 
that she was shivering violently. 

" But it was no m-murder," he pleaded, " and I 'm 
g-going away, Clo — ah ! won't you let me k-kiss you 
good-by — just once, Clo?" 

" I 'd rather — you would n't," she whispered. 

" Y-your hand, then — only your hand, Clo." 

"I'd rather — you didn't!" 

Then Ronald Barrymaine groaned and fell on his knees 
beside her and sought to kiss her little foot, the hem of her 
dress, a strand of her long, yellow hair; but seeing how 
she shuddered away from him, a great sob broke from him 
and he rose to his feet. 

" Beverley," he said, " oh, Beverley, s-she won't let me 
touch her." And so stood a while with his face hidden in 
his griping hands. After a moment he looked down at 
her again, but seeing how she yet gazed at him with that 
wide, awful, fixed stare, he strove as if to speak; then, 
finding no words, turned suddenly upon his heel and cross- 
ing the room, went into his bed-chamber and locked the 

Then Barnabas knelt beside that shaken, desolate figure 
and fain would have comforted her, but now he could hear 
her speaking in a passionate whisper, and the words she 
uttered were these: 

532 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Oh, God forgive him ! Oh, God help him ! Have 
mercy upon him, oh God of Pity ! " 

And these words she whispered over and over again 
until, at length, Barnabas reached out and touched her 
very gently. 

" Cleone ! " he said. 

At the touch she rose and stood looking round the 
dingy room like one distraught, and, sighing, crossed 
unsteadily to the door. 

And when they reached the stair, Barnabas would have 
taken her hand because of the dark, but she shrank away 
from him and shook her head. 

" Sir," said she very softty, " a murderer's sister needs 
no help, I thank you." 

And so they went down the dark stair with never a word 
between them and, reaching the door with the faulty latch, 
Barnabas held it open and they passed out into the dingy 
street, and as they walked side by side towards Hatton 
Garden, Barnabas saw that her eyes were still fixed and 
wide and that her lips still moved in silent prayer. 

In a while, being come into Hatton Garden, Barnabas 
saw a hackney coach before them, and beside the coach a 
burly, blue-clad figure, a conspicuous figure by reason of 
his wooden leg and shiny, glazed hat. 

" W'y, Lord, Mr. Beverley, sir ! " exclaimed the Bo'sun, 
hurrying forward, with his hairy fist outstretched, " this 
is a surprise, sir, likewise a pleasure, and — " But here, 
observing my lady's face, he checked himself suddenly, 
and opening the carriage door aided her in very tenderly, 
beckoning Barnabas to follow. But Barnabas shook his 

" Take care of her, Bo'sun," said he, clasping the 
sailor's hand, " take great care of her." So saying, he 
closed the door upon them, and stood to watch the rum- 
bling coach down the bustling street until it had rumbled 
itself quite out of sight. 



A bad place by day, an evil place by night, an unsavory 
place at all times is Giles's Rents, down by the River. 

It is a place of noisome courts and alleys, of narrow, 
crooked streets, seething with a dense life from fetid 
cellar to crowded garret, amid whose grime and squalor 
the wail of the new-born infant is echoed by the groan of 
decrepit age and ravaging disease; where Vice is ram- 
pant and ghoulish Hunger stalks, pale and grim. 

Truly an unholy place is Giles's Rents, down by the 

Here, upon a certain evening, Barnabas, leaning out 
from his narrow casement, turned wistful-eyed, to stare 
away over broken roof and chimney, away beyond the 
maze of squalid courts and alle} 7 s that hemmed him in 
to where, across the River, the sun was setting in a blaze 
of glory, yet a glory that served only to make more ap- 
parent all the filth and decay, all the sordid ugliness of 
his surroundings. 

Below him was a dirty court, where dirty children 
fought and played together, filling the reeking air with 
their shrill clamor, while slatternly women stood gossip- 
ing in ragged groups with grimy hands on hips, or 
with arms rolled up in dingy aprons. And Barnabas 
noticed that the dirty children and gossiping women 
turned very often to stare and point up at a certain 
window a little further along the court, and he idly won- 
dered why. 

It had been a day of stifling heat, and even now, though 

534 The Amateur Gentleman 

evening was at hand, he breathed an air close and heavy 
and foul with a thousand impurities. 

Now as he leaned there, with his earnest gaze bent ever 
across the River, Barnabas sighed, bethinking him of clean, 
white, country roads, of murmuring brooks and rills, of the 
cool green shades of dewy woods full of the fragrance of 
hidden flower and herb and sweet, moist earth. But most 
of all he bethought him of a certain wayside inn, an ancient 
inn of many gables, above whose hospitable door swung a 
sign whereon a weather-beaten hound, dim-legged and faded 
of tail, pursued a misty blur that by common report was 
held to be hare; a comfortable, homely inn of no especial 
importance perhaps, yet the very best inn to be found 
in all broad England, none the less. And, as he thought, 
a sudden, great yearning came upon Barnabas and, lean- 
ing his face between his hands, he said within himself: 

" ' I will arise, and go to my father ! ' " 

But little by little he became aware that the clamor 
below had ceased and, glancing down into the court, beheld 
two men in red waistcoats, large men, bewhiskered men and 
square of elbow. Important men were these, at sight of 
whom the ragged children stood awed and silent and round 
of eye, while the gossiping women drew back to give them 
way. Yes, men of consequence they were, beyond a doubt, 
and Barnabas noticed that they also stared very often at 
a certain window a little further up the court and from it 
to a third man who limped along close behind them by 
means of a very nobbly stick; a shortish, broadish, mild- 
looking man whose face was hidden beneath the shadow 
of the broad-brimmed hat. Nevertheless at sight of this 
man Barnabas uttered an exclamation, drew in his head 
very suddenly and thereafter stood, listening and expec- 
tant, his gaze on the door like one who waits to meet the 

And after a while, he saw the latch raised cautiously, 
and the door begin to open very slowly and noiselessly. 
It had opened thus perhaps some six inches when he spoke : 

" Is that you, Mr. Shrig? " 

The Worst Place in the World 535 

Immediately the door became stationary and, after 
some brief pause a voice issued from behind it, a voice 
somewhat wheezing and hoarse. 

" Which your parding I ax, sir," said the voice, " which 
your parding I 'umbly ax, but it ain't, me being a re- 
spectable female, sir, name o' Snummitt, sir — charing, 
sir, also washing and clear-starching, sir ! " 

Hereupon, the door having opened to its fullest, Barna- 
bas saw a stout, middle-aged woman whose naturally un- 
lovely look had been further marred by the loss of one 
eye, while the survivor, as though constantly striving to 
make amends, was continually rolling itself up and 
down and to and fro, in a manner quite astonishing to 

" Which my name is Snummitt," she repeated, bobbing 
a curtsy and momentarily eclipsing the rolling eye under 
the poke of a very large bonnet, " Mrs. Snummitt, sir, 
which though a widder I 'm respectable and of 'igh charac- 
ter and connections. Which me 'aving only one heye ain't 
by no manner of means to-be 'eld ag'in me, seeing as it 
were took away by a act o' Providence in the shape 
of another lady's boot-'eel sixteen summers ago come 

" Indeed," said Barnabas, seeing Mrs. Snummitt had 
paused for breath, " but what — " 

" Which I were to give you Mr. Bimby's compliments, 
sir, and ax if you could oblige him with the loan of a wine- 
glass ? " 

"Mr. Bimby?" 

" Over-'ead, sir — garret ! You may 'ave 'eard 'im, now 
and then — flute, sir, 'armonious, though doleful." 

" And he wants a wine-glass, does he? " said Barnabas, 
and forthwith produced that article from a rickety corner- 
cupboard and handed it to Mrs. Snummitt, who took it, 
glanced inside it, turned it upside-down, and rolled her 
eye at Barnabas eloquently. 

"What more?" he inquired. 

" Which I would mention, sir, or shall we say, 'int, as 

536 The Amateur Gentleman 

if you could put a little drop o' summat inside of it — 
brandy, say — 't would be doing a great favor." 

" Ah, to be sure ! " said Barnabas. And, having poured 
out a stiff quantum of the spirit, he gave it to Mrs. Snum- 
mit, who took it, curtsied, and rolling her solitary orb at 
the bottle on the table, smiled engagingly. 

" Which I would thank you kindly on be'alf o' Mr. 
Bimby, sir, and, seeing it upon the tip o' your tongue to 
ax me to partake, I begs to say ' Amen,' with a slice o' 
lemming cut thin, and thank you from my 'eart." 

" I fear I have no lemon," began Barnabas. 

" Then we won't say no more about it, sir, not a word. 
'Evings forbid as a lemming should come betwixt us seeing 
as I am that shook on account o' pore, little Miss Pell." 

"Who is MissPell?" 

" She 's one as was, sir, but now — ain't," answered 
Mrs. Snummitt and, nodding gloomily, she took down the 
brandy in three separate and distinct gulps, closed her 
eyes, sighed, and nodded her poke bonnet more gloomily 
than before. " Little Miss Pell, sir, 'ad a attic three doors 
down, sir, and pore little Miss Pell 'as been and gone and 
— done it ! Which do it I knowed she would." 

" Done what? " inquired Barnabas. 

" Five long year come shine, come rain, I 've knowed 
pore Miss Pell, and though small, a real lady she were, 
but lonesome. Last night as ever was, she met me on the 
stairs, and by the same token I 'ad a scrubbing-brush in 
one 'and and a bucket in the other, me 'aving been charing 
for the first floor front, a 'andsome gent with whiskers like 
a lord, and 6 on, Mrs. Snummitt ! ' she sez and all of a 
twitter she was too, 6 dear Mrs. Snummitt,' sez she, * I 'm 
a-going away on a journey,' she sez, 'but before I go,' 
she sez, ' I should like to kiss you good-by, me being so 
lonesome,' she sez. Which kiss me she did, sir, and like- 
wise wep' a couple o' big tears over me, pore soul, and 
then, run away into 'er dark little attic and locked 'erself 
in, and — done it ! " 

« What — what did she do? " 

The Worst Place in the World 537 

" 'Ung 'erself in the cupboard, sir. Kissed me only last 
night she did and wep' over me, and now — cold and stiff, 
pore soul? " 

" But why did she do it? " cried Barnabas, aghast. 

" Well, there was the lonesomeness and — well, she 
'ad n't eat anything for two days it seems, and — " 

" You mean that she was hungry — starving? " 

" Generally, sir. But things was worse lately on ac- 
count of 'er heyes getting weak. 6 Mrs. Snummitt,' she 
used to say, 6 my heyes is getting worse and worse,' she 'd 
say, 6 but I shall work as long as I can see the stitches, 
and then, Mrs. Snummitt, I must try a change o' scene,* 
she used to say with a little shiver like. And I used to 
wonder where she 'd go, but — I know now, and — well — 
the Bow Street Runners 'as just gone up to cut the pore 
soul down." 

" And she killed herself — because she was hungry ! " 
said Barnabas, staring wide-eyed. 

" Oh, yes, lots on 'em do, I 've knowed three or four as 
went and done it, and it 's generally hunger as is to blame 
for it. There 's Mr. Bimby, now, a nice little gent, but 
doleful like 'is flute, 'e 's always 'ungry 'e is, I '11 take my 
oath — should n't wonder if 'e don't come to it one o' these 
days. And talking of 'im I must be going, sir, and thank 
you kindly, I 'm sure." 

" Why, then," said Barnabas as she bobbed him another 
curtsy, " will you ask Mr. Bimby if he will do me the 
pleasure to step down and take supper with me? " 

" Which, sir, I will, though Mr. Bimby I won't answer 
for, 'im being busy with the pore young man as 'e brought 
'ome last night — it 's 'im as the brandy 's for. Ye see, 
sir, though doleful, Mr. Bimby 's very kind 'earted, and 
'e 's always a-nussing somebody or something — last time 
it were a dog with a broke leg — ah, I 've knowed 'im 
bring 'ome stray cats afore now, many 's the time, and 
once a sparrer. But I '11 tell 'im, sir, and thank you 

And in a while, when Mrs. Snummitt had duly curtsied 

538 The Amateur Gentleman 

herself out of sight, Barnabas sighed, and turned once 
more to stare away, over broken roof and crumbling 
chimney, towards the glory of the sunset. But now, be- 
cause he remembered poor little Miss Pell who had died 
because she was so friendless and hungry, and Mr. Bimby 
who was " always hungry " and played the flute, he stifled 
his fierce yearning for dewy wood and copse and the sweet, 
pure breath of the country, and thought no more of his 
father's inn that was so very far from the sordid grime 
and suffering of Giles's Rents, down by the River; and 
setting the kettle on the fire he sank into a chair and 
stretching out his long legs, fell into a profound medi- 

From this he was roused by the opening of the door, 
and, glancing up, beheld John Peterby. A very different 
person he looked from the neat, well-groomed Peterby of 
a week ago, what with the rough, ill-fitting clothes he wore 
and the fur cap pulled low over his brows ; the gentleman's 
gentleman had vanished quite, and in his stead was a non- 
descript character such as might have been met with any- 
where along the River, or lounging in shadowy corners. 
He carried a bundle beneath one arm, and cast a swift look 
round the room before turning to see the door behind 

" Ah," said Barnabas nodding, " I 'm glad you 're back, 
John, and with plenty of provisions I hope, for I 'm amaz- 
ingly hungry, and besides, I 've asked a gentleman to sup 
with us." 

Peterby put down the bundle and, crossing to the 
hearth, took the kettle, which was boiling furiously, and 
set it upon the hob, then laying aside the fur cap 
spoke : 

" A gentleman, sir? " 

" A neighbor, John." 

" Sir," said he, as he began to prepare the tea in that 
swift, silent manner peculiar to him in all things, " when 
do you propose we shall leave this place ? " 

" Why, to tell you the truth, John, I had almost deter- 

The Worst Place in the World 539 

mined to start for the country this very night, but, on 
second thoughts, I 've decided to stay on a while. After 
all, we have only been here a week as yet." 

" Yes, sir, it is just a week since — Jasper Gaunt was 
murdered," said Peterby gently as he stooped to unpack 
his bundle. Now when he said this, Barnabas turned to 
look at him again, and thus he noticed that Peterby's brow 
was anxious and careworn. 

" I wish, John," said he, " that you would remember 
we are no longer master and man." 

" Old habits stick, sir." 

" And that I brought you to this dismal place as my 

" But surely, sir, a man's friend is worthy of his trust 
and confidence? " 

" John Peterby, what do you mean? " 

" Sir," said Peterby, setting down the teapot, " as I 
came along this evening, I met Mr. Shrig; he recognized 
me in spite of my disguise and he told me to — warn 
you — " 

"Well, John?" 

" That you may be arrested — " 

"Yes, John?" 

" For — the murder of Jasper Gaunt. Oh, sir, why 
have you aroused suspicion against yourself by disappear- 
ing at such a time? " 

" Suspicion? " said Barnabas, and with the word he 
rose and laying his hands upon John Peterby's shoulders, 
looked into his eyes. Then, seeing the look they held, he 
smiled and shook his head. 

" Oh, friend," said he, " what matters it so long as you 
know my hands are clean? " 

" But, sir, if you are arrested — " 

" They must next prove me guilty, John," said Barna- 
bas, sitting down at the table. 

" Or an accessory — after the fact ! " 

" Hum ! " said Barnabas thoughtfully, " I never thought 
of that." 

540 The Amateur Gentleman 

" And, sir," continued Peterby anxiously, " there are 
two Bow Street Runners lounging outside in the court — " 

" But they ? re not after me yet. So cheer up, John ! " 
Yet in that moment, Peterby sprang to his feet with fists 
clenched, for some one was knocking softly at the door. 

" Quick, sir — the other room — hide ! " he whispered. 
But shaking his head, Barnabas rose and, putting him 
gently aside, opened the door and beheld a small gentle- 
man who bowed. 

A pale, fragile little gentleman this, with eyes and hair 
of an indeterminate color, while his clothes, scrupulously 
neat and brushed and precise to a button, showed pitifully 
shabby and threadbare in contrast with his elaborately 
frilled and starched cravat and gay, though faded, satin 
waistcoat; and, as he stood bowing nervously to them, 
there was an air about him that somehow gave the impres- 
sion that he was smaller even than Nature had intended. 

" Gentlemen," said he, coughing nervously behind his 
hand, " hem ! — I trust I don't intrude. Feel it my obli- 
gation to pay my respects, to — hem ! to welcome you 
as a neighbor — as a neighbor. Arthur Bimby, humbly 
at your service — Arthur Bimby, once a man of parts 
though now brought low by abstractions, gentlemen, forces 
not apparent to the human optic, sirs. Still, in my day, 
I have been known about town as a downy bird, a smooth 
file, and a knowing card — hem ! " 

Hereupon he bowed again, looking as unlike a " smooth 
file " or " knowing card " as any small, inoffensive gentle- 
man possibly could. 

" Happy to see you, sir," answered Barnabas, return- 
ing his bow with one as deep, " I am Barnabas Barty at 
your service, and this is my good friend John Peterby. 
We are about to have supper — nothing very much — 
tea, sir, eggs, and a cold fowl, but if you would honor 
us — " 

" Sir," cried the little gentleman with a quaver of eager- 
ness in his voice and a gleam in his eye, both quickly sup- 
pressed, " hem ! — indeed I thank you, but — regret I 

The Worst Place in the World 541 

have already supped — hem — duck and green peas 5 
gentlemen, though I '11 admit the duck was tough — 
deuced tough, hem ! Still, if I might be permitted to toy 
with an egg and discuss a dish of tea, the honor would 
be mine, sirs — would be mine ! " 

Then, while Peterby hastened to set the edibles before 
him, Barnabas drew up a chair and, with many bows and 
flutterings of the thin, restless hands, the little gentleman 
sat down. 

" Indeed, indeed," he stammered, blinking his pale eyes, 
66 this is most kind, I protest, most kind and neighborly ! " 
Which said, he stooped suddenly above his plate and began 
to eat, that is to say he swallowed one or two mouthfuls 
with a nervous haste that was very like voracity, checked 
himself, and glancing guiltily from unconscious Barnabas 
to equally unconscious Peterby, sighed and thereafter ate 
his food as deliberately as might be expected of one who 
had lately dined upon duck and green peas. 

" Ah ! " said he, when at length his hunger was some- 
what assuaged, " you are noticing the patch in my left 
elbow, sir? " 

" No indeed! " began Barnabas. 

" I think you were, sir — every one does, every one — it 
can't be missed, sir, and I — hem ! I 'm extreme conscious 
of it myself, sirs. I really must discard this old coat, but 
— hem ! I 'm attached to it — foolish sentiment, sirs. 
I wear it for associations' sake, it awakens memory, and 
memory is a blessed thing, sirs, a very blessed thing ! " 

" Sometimes ! " sighed Barnabas. 

" In me, sirs, you behold a decayed gentleman, yet one 
who has lived in his time, but now, sirs, all that remains 
to me is — this coat. A prince once commended it, the 
Beau himself condescended to notice it ! Yes, sirs, I was 
rich once and happily married, and my friends were many. 
But — my best friend deceived and ruined me, my wife 
fled away and left me, sirs, my friends all forsook me and, 
to-day, all that I have to remind me of what I was when I 
was young and lived, is this old coat. To-day I exist as a 

54 2 The Amateur Gentleman 

law-writer, to-day I am old, and with my vanished youth 
hope has vanished too. And I call myself a decayed gentle- 
man because I 'm — fading, sirs. But to fade is genteel ; 
Brummell faded! Yes, one may fade and still be a gentle- 
man, but who ever heard of a fading ploughman? " 

" Who, indeed? " said Barnabas. 

" But to fade, sir," continued the little gentleman, lift- 
ing a thin, bloodless hand, " though genteel, is a slow 
process and a very weary one. Without the companion- 
ship of Hope, life becomes a hard and extreme long road 
to the ultimate end, and therefore I am sometimes greatly 
tempted to take the — easier course, the — shorter way." 

" What do you mean? " 

" Well, sir, there are other names for it, but — hem ! — 
I prefer to call it ' the shorter way.' " 

" Do you mean — suicide? " 

" Sir," cried Mr. Bimby, shivering and raising protest- 
ing hands, " I said ' the shorter way.' Poor little Miss 
Pell — a lady born, sir — she used to curtsy to me on 
the stairs, she chose ' the shorter way.' She also was old, 
you see, and weary. And to-night I met another who 
sought to take this 6 shorter way ' — but he was young, 
and for the young there is always hope. So I brought him 
home with me and tried to comfort him, but I fear — " 

Peterby sprang suddenly to his feet and Mr. Bimby 
started and turned to glance fearfully towards the door 
which was quivering beneath the blows of a ponderous fist. 
Therefore Barnabas rose and crossing the room, drew the 
latch. Upon the threshold stood Corporal Richard Roe, 
looming gigantic in the narrow doorway, who, having 
saluted Barnabas with his shining hook, spoke in his slow, 
diffident manner. 

" Sir," said he, " might I speak a word wi' you? " 

" Why, Corporal, I 'm glad to see you — come in ! " 

" Sir," said the big soldier with another motion of his 
glittering hook, " might I ax you to step outside wi' me 
jest a moment? " 

" Certainly, Corporal," and with a murmured apology 

The Worst Place in the World 543 

to Mr. Bimby, Barnabas followed the Corporal out upon 
the gloomy landing and closed the door. Now at the 
further end of the landing was a window, open to admit 
the air, and, coming to this window, the Corporal glanced 
down stealthily into the court below, beckoning Barnabas 
to do the like : 

" Sir," said he in a muffled tone, " d' ye see them two 
coves in the red weskits? " and he pointed to the two Bow 
Street Runners who lounged in the shadow of an adjacent 
wall, talking together in rumbling tones and puffing at 
their pipes. 

" Well, Corporal, what of them? " 

" Sir, they 're a-waiting for you ! " 

" Are you sure, Corporal? A poor creature committed 
suicide to-day; I thought they were here on that account." 

" No, sir, that was only a blind, they 're a-watching 
and a-waiting to take you for the Gaunt murder. My pal 
Jarsper knows, and my pal Jarsper sent me here to give 
you the office to lay low and not to venture out to-night." 

" Ah ! " said Barnabas, beginning to frown. 

" My pal Jarsper bid me say as you was to keep your- 
self scarce till 'e 's got 'is 'ooks on the guilty party, sir." 

" Ah ! " said Barnabas, again, " and when does he intend 
to make the arrest? " 

" This here very night, sir." 

" Hum ! " said Barnabas thoughtfully. 

" And," continued the Corporal, " I were likewise to 
remind you, sir, as once your pals, ever and alius your 
pals. And, sir — good-night, and good-luck to you ! " 
So saying, the Corporal shook hands, flourished his hook 
and strode away down the narrow stairs, smiling up at 
Barnabas like a beneficent giant. 

And, when he was gone, Barnabas hurried back into 
the room and, taking pen and paper, wrote this: 

" You are to be arrested to-night, so I send you my 
friend, John Peterby. Trust yourself to his guidance. 

" Beverley." 

544 The Amateur Gentleman 

And having folded and sealed this letter, he beckoned 
to Peterby. 

" John," said he, speaking in his ear, " take this letter 
to Mr. Barrymaine, give it into his hand, see that he 
leaves at once. And, John, take a coach and bring him 
back with you." 

So Peterby the silent thrust the note into his bosom, 
took his fur cap, and sighing, went from the room; and 
a moment later, glancing cautiously through the window, 
Barnabas saw him hurry through the court and vanish 
round the corner. 

Then Barnabas turned back to the table, and seeing 
how wistfully Mr. Bimby eyed the teapot, poured him out 
another cup; and while they drank together, Mr. Bimby 
chatted, in his pleasant way, of bitter wrong, of shattered 
faith and ideals, of the hopeless struggle against circum- 
stance, and of the oncoming terror of old age, bringing 
with it failing strength and all the horrors of a debtor's 
prison. And now, mingled with his pity, Barnabas was 
conscious of a growing respect for this pleasant, small 
gentleman, and began to understand why a man might 
seek the " shorter way," yet be no great coward after all. 

So Mr. Bimby chattered on and Barnabas listened until 
the day declined to evening; until Barnabas began to 
hearken for Peterby's returning footstep on the uncar- 
peted stair outside. Even in the act of lighting the 
candles his ears were acutely on the stretch, and thus he 
gradually became aware of another sound, soft and dull, 
yet continuous, a sound difficult to locate. But as he 
stood staring into the flame of the candle he had just 
lighted, striving meanwhile to account for and place this 
noise, Mr. Bimby rose and lifted a thin, arresting hand. 

" Sir," said he, " do you hear anything? " 

" Yes. I was wondering what it could be." 

" I think I can tell you, sir," said Mr. Bimby, pointing 
to a certain part of the cracked and blackened ceiling; 
" it is up there, in my room — listen ! " 

And now, all at once Barnabas started and caught his 

The Worst Place in the World 545 

breath, for from the floor above came a soft trampling as 
of unshod feet, yet the feet never moved from the one 

" Indeed," sighed Mr. Bimby, " I greatly fear my poor 
young friend is ill again. I must go up to him, but first 
— may I beg — " 

" Sir," said Barnabas, his gaze still fixed upon a certain 
corner of the ceiling, "I should like to go with you, 
if I may." 

" You are very good, sir, very kind, I protest you are," 
quavered Mr. Bimby, " and hem ! if I might suggest — a 
little brandy — ?" But even as Barnabas reached for 
the bottle, there came a hurry of footsteps on the stair, a 
hand fumbled at the door and Mr. Smivvle entered with 
Peterb}^ at his heels. 

" Oh, Beverley ! " he exclaimed, tugging nervously at 
his whiskers, " Barry 's gone — most distressing — ut- 
terly vanished ! I just happened to — ah — pop round the 
corner, my dear fellow, and when I came back he 'd dis- 
appeared, been looking for him everywhere. Poor Barry 
■ — poor fellow, they J ve got him safe enough by now ! Oh 
Gad, Beverley ! what can I do ? " 

" Sit down," said Barnabas, " I think he 's found." So 
saying he turned and followed Mr: Bimby out of the room. 


It needed but a glance at the huddled figure in the com- 
fortless little attic to assure Barnabas of the identity of 
Mr. Bimby's " poor young friend " ; wherefore, setting 
down the candle on the broken table, he crossed the room 
and touched that desolate figure with a gentle hand. 

Then Ronald Barrymaine looked up and, seeing Barna- 
bas, struggled to his knees : 

"Beverley!" he exclaimed, "oh, thank God! You'll 
save her from that d-devil — I tried to kill him, b-but he 
was too quick for me. But you — you '11 save her ! " 

"What do you mean? Is it Cleone? What do you 
mean — speak!" said Barnabas, beginning to tremble. 

" Yes, yes ! " muttered Barrymaine, passing a hand 
across his brow. " Listen then ! Chichester knows — he 
knows, I tell you! He came to me, three days ago I 
think — while D-Dig was out, and he talked and talked, 
and questioned me and questioned me, and s-so I — I told 
him everything — everything ! But I had to, Beverley, I 
had to — he made me — yes he, Jasper Gaunt. So I told 
C-Chichester everything and then — he laughed, and I 
t-tried to k-kill him, but he got away and left me alone 
with — him. He 's always near me now — always c-close 
behind me where I can't quite s-see him, only sometimes 
I hear him ch-choke, oh, my God, Beverley ! — like he 
did — that night ! I r-ran away to escape him but — oh 
Beverley ! — he 's followed me, he was here a moment ago 
— I heard him, I t-tell you ! Oh, Beverley, don't l-look 
as if you thought me m-mad, I 'm not ! I 'm not ! I know 
it 's all an illusion, of c-course, but — " 

Mr. Bimby's Guest 547 

" Yes," said Barnabas gently, " but what of Cleone? " 

" Cleone ? Oh, God help me, Beverley, she 's going to 
g-give herself to that devil — to buy his silence ! " 

" What — what, " stammered Barnabas. " What do 
you mean? " 

" I got this to-day — read it and see ! " said Barry- 
maine and drew from his bosom a crumpled letter. Then 
Barnabas took it, and smoothing it out, read these words : 

" Ronald dear, I 'm sorry I did n't let you kiss me good- 
by. So sorry that I am going to do all that a woman 
can to save you. Mr. Chichester has learned your awful 
secret, and I am the price of his silence. So, because of 
my promise to our dying mother, and because life can hold 
nothing for me now, because life and death are alike to 
me now, I am going to marry him to-night, at his house 
at Headcorn. Good-by, Ronald dear, and that God may 
forgive and save you in this life and hereafter, is the 
undying prayer of 

"Your Sister, 

" Cleone." 

Barnabas refolded the letter and, giving it back to 
Barrymaine, took out Natty Bell's great silver watch. 

" It is a long way to Headcorn;" said he, " I must start 
at once ! " 

"Ah! You'll g-go then, Beverley?" 

"Go? Of course!" 

" Then, oh Beverley, whatever happens — whether 
you're in time or no, you'll — k-kill him?" 

" I think," said Barnabas, putting away his watch, 
" yes, I think I shall." 

" The house is called Ashleydown," continued Barry- 
maine feverishly, " a b-big house about a m-mile this side 
the village." 

" Ashleydown? I think I 've heard mention of it be- 
fore. But now, you must come with me, Smiwle is down- 
stairs, you shall have my rooms to-night." 

" Thanks, Beverley, but do you m-mind — giving me 

548 The Amateur Gentleman 

jour arm? I get f-faint sometimes — my head, I think, 
the faintness came on me in the s-street to-night, and I 
f-fell, I think." 

" Indeed, yes, sir," added Mr. Bimby with a little bow, 
46 it was so I found you, sir." 

" Ah, yes, you were kind to me, I remember — you have 
my g-gratitude, sir. Now, Beverley, give me your arm, I 
— I — oh, God help me ! " Barrymaine reached out with 
clutching fingers, swayed, twisted sideways and would 
have fallen, had not Barnabas caught him. 

" Poor boy ! " cried Mr. Bimby, " a fit, I think — so 
very young, poor boy ! You '11 need help, sir. Oh, poor 
hoy, poor boy ! " So saying, the little gentleman hurried 
away and presently returned with John and Mr. Smivvle. 
Thus, between them, they bore Ronald Barrymaine down- 
stairs and, having made him as comfortable as might be 
in the inner room, left him to the care of the faithful Mr. 

Then Barnabas crossed to the narrow window and stood 
there a while, looking down at the dim figures of the Bow 
Street Runners who still lounged against the wall in the 
gathering dusk and talked together in gruff murmurs. 

" John," said he at last, " I must trouble you to change 
coats with me." Peterby slipped off the garment in ques- 
tion, and aided Barnabas to put it on. 

" Now, your fur cap, John." 

" Sir," said Peterby all anxiety in a moment, " you are 
never thinking of going out, to-night — it would be 
madness ! " 

" Then mad am I. Your cap, John." 

" But — if you are arrested — " 

" He will be a strong man who stays me to-night, John. 
Give me your cap." 

So Peterby brought the fur cap and, putting it on, 
Barnabas pulled it low down over his brows and turned 
to the door. But there Peterby stayed him. 

" Sir," he pleaded, " let me go for you." 

" No," said Barnabas, shaking his head. 

Mr. Bimby's Guest 549 

" Then let me go with you." 

" Impossible, John." 


" Because," answered Barnabas, grim-lipped, " to-night 
I go to ride another race, a very long, hard race, and oh, 
John Peterby — my faithful John, if you never prayed 
before — pray now, that I may win ! " 

" Sir," said Peterby, " I will ! " 

Then Barnabas caught his hand, wrung it, and striding 
from the room, hurried away down the dark and narrow 



The shadows were creeping down on Giles's Rents, hiding 
its grime, its misery and squalor, what time Barnabas 
stepped out into the court, and, turning his back upon 
the shadowy River, strode along, watchful-eyed, toward 
that dark corner where the Bow Street Runners still 
lounged, smoking their pipes and talking together in their 
rumbling tones. As he drew nearer he became aware that 
they had ceased their talk and guessed rather than saw 
that he was the object of their scrutiny; nor was he mis- 
taken, for as he came abreast of where they stood, one 
of them lurched towards him. 

" Why, hullo, Joe," exclaimed the man, in a tone of 
rough familiarity, " strike me blue if this ain't f ort'nate ! 
'Ow goes it, Joe ? " 

" My name is n't Joe," said Barnabas, pausing, for the 
man had lurched in front of him, barring his way. 

" Not Joe, eh? " growled the man, thrusting his head 
unpleasantly close to Barnabas to peer into his face, 
" not Joe, eh? Why then p'r'aps it might be — Barnabas, 
eh? P'r'aps it might be — Beverley, eh? Barnabas Bev- 
erley like-wise, eh? All right, Ben ! " he called to his mate, 
" it 's our man right enough ! " 

"What do you mean? " inquired Barnabas, casting a 
swift glance about him; and thus, he saw a moving 
shadow some distance down the court, a furtive shape 
that flitted towards them where the gathering shadows 
lay thickest. And at the sight, Barnabas clenched his 
fists and poised himself for swift action. 

" What do you want ? " he demanded, his gaze still 

Barnabas Leads a Hue and Cry 551 

wandering, his ears hearkening desperately for the sound 
of creeping footsteps behind, " what do you want with 

" W'y, we wants you, to be sure," answered Runner 
No. 1. " We wants you, Barnabas Beverley, Esk-vire, 
for the murder of Jasper Gaunt. And, wot 's more — 
we 've got ye ! And, wot 's more — you 'd better come 
along nice and quiet in the name o' the — " 

But in that moment, even as he reached out to seize 
the prisoner, Runner No. 1 felt himself caught in a power- 
ful wrestling grip, his legs were swept from under him, 
and he thudded down upon the cobbles. Then, as Barna- 
bas turned to meet the rush of Runner No. 2, behold a 
dark figure, that leapt from the dimness behind, and bore 
No. 2, cursing savagely, staggering back and back to the 
wall, and pinned him there, while, above the scuffling, the 
thud of blows and the trample of feet, rose a familiar 
voice : 

" Run, sir — run ! " cried John Peterby, " I 've got this 
one — run ! " 

Incontinent, Barnabas turned, and taking to his heels, 
set off along the court, but with No. 1 (who had scrambled 
to his feet again) thundering after him in hot pursuit, 
roaring for help as he came. 

" Stop, thief! " bellowed No. 1, pounding along behind. 

" Stop, thief ! " roared Barnabas, pounding along in 

Round the corner into the street of tumble-down houses 
sped yelling Barnabas, scattering people right and left; 
round the corner came No. 1 hard in his rear. 

" Stop, thief! " bellowed No. 1, louder than ever. 

" Stop, thief ! " roared Barnabas, louder still, and run- 
ning like the wind. Thus, No. 1 continued to bellow along 
behind, and Barnabas ran on roaring before, by dint of 
which he had very soon drawn about him divers other 
eager pursuers who, in their turn, taking up the cry, 
filled the air with a raving clamor that grew and ever 

552 The Amateur Gentleman 

On sped Barnabas, still yelling " thieves," and with a 
yelling rabblement all about him, on he went by crooked 
ways, plunging down gloomy courts, doubling sudden cor- 
ners, leading the pursuit ever deeper into the maze of dark 
alleys and crooked back streets, until, spying a place 
suitable to his purpose, he turned aside, and darting 
down a dark and narrow entry-way, he paused there in 
the kindly shelter to regain his breath, and heard the 
hue and cry go raving past until it had roared itself 
into the distance. Then, very cautiously and with no little 
difficulty, he retraced his steps, and coming at length to 
the River, crossed Blackfriars Bridge and hurried west- 
wards ; nor did he stop or slacken his swift pace until he 
found himself in that quiet, back-street at the end of 
which his stables were situated. Being come there, he 
hammered upon the door which was presently opened 
by old Gabriel Martin himself. 

" Martin, I 'm in a hurry," said Barnabas, " have 6 The 
Terror ' saddled at once, and bring me a pair of spurred 
boots — quick ! " 

Without wasting time in needless words, the old groom 
set the stable-boys running to and fro, and himself brought 
Barnabas a pair of riding-boots, and aided him to put 
them on. Which done, Barnabas threw aside the fur 
cap, stripped off Peterby's rough coat, and looked about 
for other garments to take their place. 

" If it be a coat as you 're wanting, sir, there be one 
as you wore at the race," said Martin, " I keep it up- 
stairs in my room. It be a bit tore, sir, but — " 

" It will do," said Barnabas, nodding, " only — hurry, 
Martin ! " By the time the old groom had returned with 
the scarlet hunting-frock and helped Barnabas into it, 
" The Terror " was led out from his box, and immediately 
began to snort and rear and beat a ringing tattoo with 
his great, round hoofs to a chorus of chirruping and 
whoa-ing from the stable-boys. 

" A bit fresh-ish, p'r'aps, sir ! " said Martin, viewing 
the magnificent animal with glistening eyes, " exercised 

Barnabas Leads a Hue and Cry 553 

reg'lar, too ! But wot 'e wants is a good, stretching, cross- 
country gallop." 

" Well, he 's going to have it, Martin." 

" Ah, sir," nodded the old groom, as Barnabas tested 
girth and stirrup-leathers, " you done mighty well when 
you bought 'im — theer ain't another 'oss 'is ekal in Lon- 
don — no, nor nowheers else as I knows on. 'E 's won 
one race for you, and done it noble, and wot 's more 
sir — " 

"To-night he must win me another!" said Barnabas, 
and swung himself into the saddle. " And this will be 
a much harder and crueller race than he ran before or 
will ever run again, Martin, I hope. Pray what time 
is it?" 

" Nigh on to 'alf-past eight, sir." 

" So late ! " said Barnabas, grim-lipped and frowning 
as he settled his feet in the stirrups. " Now — give him 
his head there — stay ! Martin, have you a brace of 

" Pistols ! Why yes, sir, but — " 

" Lend them to me." 

Forthwith the pistols were brought, somewhat clumsy 
weapons, but serviceable none the less. 

" They 're loaded, sir ! " said Martin as he handed them 

" Good ! " nodded Barnabas, and slipping one into 
either pocket, gathered up his reins. 

"You'll not be back to-night, sir?" 

" Not to-night, Martin." 

" Good night, sir." 

" Good night, Martin." 

" Are you ready, sir? " 

" Quite ready, Martin." 

" Then — stand away there ! " 

Obediently the stable-boys leapt aside, freeing " The 
Terror's " proud head, who snorted, reared, and plunged 
out through the open doorway, swung off sharp to his 
right and thundered away down the echoing street. 

554 The Amateur Gentleman 

And thus " The Terror " set out on his second race, 
which was to be a very hard, cruel race, since it was to 
be run against no four-legged opponent, no thing of flesh 
and blood and nerves, but against the sure-moving, re- 
lentless fingers of Natty Bell's great, silver watch. 



Over Westminster Bridge and down the Borough gal- 
loped Barnabas, on through the roaring din of traffic, 
past rumbling coach and creaking wain, heedless of the 
shouts of wagoners and teamsters and the indignant cries 
of startled pedestrians, yet watchful of eye and ready of 
hand, despite his seeming recklessness. 

On sped the great, black horse, his pace increasing as 
the traffic lessened, on and on along the Old Kent Road, 
up the hill at New Cross and down again, and so through 
Lewisham to the open country beyond. 

And now the way was comparatively clear save for the 
swift -moving lights of some chaise or the looming bulk 
of crawling market-wagons : therefore Barnabas, bethink- 
ing him always of the long miles before him, and of the 
remorseless, creeping fingers of N-atty Bell's great watch, 
slacked his rein, whereat " The Terror," snorting for joy, 
tossed his mighty crest on high and, bounding forward, 
fell into his long, racing stride, spurning London further 
and further into the dimness behind. 

Barnabas rode stooped low in the saddle, his watchful 
eyes scanning the road ahead, a glimmering track bor- 
dered by flying hedges, and trees that, looming ghost-like 
in the dusk, flitted past and, like ghosts, were gone again. 
Swift, swift sped the great, black horse, the glimmering 
road below, the luminous heaven above, a glorious canopy 
whence shone a myriad stars filling the still night with 
their soft, mysterious glow: a hot, midsummer night full 
of a great hush, a stillness wherein no wind stirred and 
upon whose deep silence distant sounds seemed magnified 

556 The Amateur Gentleman 

and rose, clear and plain, above the rhythmic drumming 
of " The Terror's " flying hoofs. Presently, out of the 
dimness ahead, lights twinkled, growing ever brighter and 
more numerous and Bromley was before him ; came a long, 
paved street where people turned to stare, and point, and 
shout at him as he flashed by, and Bromley was behind 
him, and he was out upon the open road again where 
hedge, and barn, and tree seemed to leap at him from 
the dark only to vanish in the dimness behind. 

On swept the great, black horse, past fragrant rick 
and misty pool, past running rills that gurgled in the 
shadows, by wayside inns whence came the sound of voices 
and laughter with snatches of song, all quickly lost 
again in the rolling thunder of those tireless galloping 
hoofs ; past lonely cottages where dim lights burned, over 
hill, over dale, by rolling meadow and sloping down, past 
darkling woods whence breathed an air cool and damp 
and sweet, on up the long ascent of Poll Hill and down 
into the valley again. Thus, in a while, Barnabas saw 
more lights before him that, clustering together, seemed 
to hang suspended in mid-air, and, with his frowning gaze 
upon these clustering lights, he rode up that long, trying 
hill that leads into the ancient township of Sevenoaks. 

At the further end of the town he turned aside and, 
riding into the yard of the Castle Inn, called for ale and, 
while he drank, stood by to watch the hissing ostlers as 
they rubbed down " The Terror " and gave him sparingly 
of water. So, into the saddle again and, bearing to the 
right, off and away for Tonbridge. 

But now, remembering the hill country before him, he 
checked his pace, and thus, as he went, became once more 
aware of the profound stillness of the night about him, 
and of a gathering darkness. Therefore lifting his gaze 
to the heavens, he saw a great, black cloud that grew and 
spread from east to west, putting out the stars. 

Now, with the gathering cloud, came sudden fear to 
clutch at his heart with icy fingers, a shivering dread lest, 
after all, he be too late; and, clenching sweating palms, 

Barnabas Rides Another Race 557 

Barnabas groaned, and in that moment " The Terror " 
leapt snorting beneath the rowelling spur. 

Suddenly, as they topped River Hill, out of the murk 
ahead there met him a puff of wind, a hot wind that came 
and so was gone again, but far away beyond the distant 
horizon to his left, the sombre heaven was split and rent 
asunder by a jagged lightning flash whose quivering 
light, for one brief instant, showed him a glimpse of the 
wide valley below, of the winding road, of field and 
hedgerow and motionless tree and, beyond, the square 
tower of a church, very small with distance yet, above 
whose battlements a tiny weather-vane flashed and glit- 
tered vividly ere all things vanished, swallowed up in the 
pitchy dark. 

And now came the wind again and in the wind was 
rain, a few great pattering drops, while the lightning 
flamed and quivered upon the horizon, and the thunder 
rolled ever louder and more near. 

Came a sudden, blinding flame, that seemed to crackle 
in the air near by, a stunning thunder-clap shaking the 
very firmament, and thereafter an aching blackness, upon 
whose startled silence burst the rain — a sudden, hissing 

Up — up reared " The Terror," whinnying with fear, 
then strove madly to turn and flee before the fury of 
wind, and flame, and lashing rain. Three times he swerved 
wildly, and three times he was checked, as with hand, and 
voice, and goading spur, Barnabas drove him on again — 
on down the steep descent, down, down into the yawning 
blackness of the valley below, on into the raging fury 
of the storm. 

So, bulieted by wind, lashed by stinging rain, blinded 
by vivid lightning-flash, Barnabas rode on down the hill. 

On and ever on, with teeth hard clenched, with eyes 
fierce and wide, heedless alike of wind and wet and flame, 
since he could think only of the man he rode to meet. 
And sometimes he uttered bitter curses, and sometimes 
he touched and fondled the weapons in his pocket, smiling 

558 The Amateur Gentleman 

evilly, for to-night, if he were not blasted by the lightning 
or crushed beneath his terrified horse, Barnabas meant 
this man should die. 

And now upon the rushing wind were voices, demon 
voices that shrieked and howled at him, filling the whirl- 
ing blackness with their vicious clamor. 

" Kill him ! " they shrieked. " Whether you are in time 
or no, kill him ! kill him ! " 

And Barnabas, heedless of the death that hissed and 
crackled in the air about him, fronting each lightning- 
flash with cruel-smiling mouth, nodded his head to the 
howling demons and answered: 

" Yes, yes, whether in time or no, to-night he dies ! " 

And now, uplifted with a wild exhilaration, he laughed 
aloud, exulting in the storm; and now, crushed by fear 
and dread, and black despair, he raved out bitter curses 
and spurred on into the storm. Little by little the 
thought of this man he meant to slay possessed him 
utterly; it seemed to Barnabas that he could actually 
hear his soft, mocking laughter ; it filled the night, rising 
high above the hiss of rain and rush of wind — the laugh 
of a satyr who waits, confident, assured, with arms out- 
stretched to clasp a shuddering goddess. 

On beneath trees, dim-seen, that rocked and swayed 
bending to the storm, splashing through puddles, flounder- 
ing through mire, slack of rein and ready of spur, Barna- 
bas galloped hard. And ever the mocking laughter rang 
in his ears, and ever the demons shrieked to him on the 
howling wind : 

"Kill him! kill him!" 

So, at last, amidst rain, and wind, and mud, Barnabas 
rode into Tonbridge Town, and staying at the nearest 
inn, dismounted stiffly in the yard and shouted hoarsely 
for ostlers to bring him to the stables. Being come there, 
it is Barnabas himself who holds the bucket while the 
foam-flecked " Terror " drinks, a modicum of water with 
a dash of brandy. Thereafter Barnabas stands by 
anxious-eyed what time two ostlers rub down the great, 

Barnabas Rides Another Race 559 

black horse; or, striding swiftly to and fro, the silver 
watch clutched in impatient hand, he questions the men in 
rapid tones, as: 

" Which is the nearest way to Headcorn? " * 

" 'Eadcorn, sir? Why surely you don't be think- 
ing — " 

"Which is the nearest way to Headcorn?" repeats 
Barnabas, scowling blackly; whereat the fellow answers 
to the point and Barnabas falls to his feverish striding to 
and fro until, glancing from the watch in his hand to 
" The Terror's " lofty crest, observing that his heaving 
flanks labor no more and that he paws an impatient hoof, 
Barnabas thrusts watch in fob, tightens girth and sur- 
cingle and, having paid his score, swings himself stiffly into 
the saddle and is off and away, while the gaping ostlers 
stare after him through the falling rain till he has galloped 
out of sight. 

Away, away, down empty street, over rumbling bridge 
and so, bearing to the left, on and up the long hill of 

Gradually the rain ceased, the wind died utterly away, 
the stars peeped out again. And now, upon the quiet, 
came the small, soft sound of trickling water, while the 
air was fragrant with a thousand- sweet scents and warm, 
moist, earthy smells. 

But on galloped the great, black horse, by pointed 
oast-house, by gloomy church, on and ever on, his nos- 
trils flaring, his eye wild, his laboring sides splashed with 
mire and streaked with foam and blood; on he galloped, 
faltering a little, stumbling a little, his breath coming in 
sobbing gasps, but maintaining still his long, racing 
stride; thundering through sleeping hamlets and waking 
echoes far and near, failing of strength, scant of breath, 
but indomitable still. 

Oh, mighty "Four-legs"! Oh, "Terror"! whose 
proud heart scorns defeat ! to-night thou dost race as 
ne'er thou didst before, pitting thy strength and high 
courage against old Time himself! Therefore on, on* 

560 The Amateur Gentleman 

brave horse, enduring thy anguish as best thou may, 
nor look for mercy from the pitiless human who bestrides 
thee, who rides grim-lipped, to give death and, if need be, 
to taste of its bitterness himself, and who, unsparing of 
himself, shall neither spare thee. 

On, on, brave horse, endure as best thou may, since 
Death rides thee to-night. 

Now, in a while, Barnabas saw before him a wide street 
flanked on either hand by cottages, and with an ancient 
church beyond. And, as he looked at this church with 
its great, square tower outlined against the starry 
heaven, there came, borne to his ears, the fretful wailing 
of a sleepless child; therefore he checked his going and, 
glancing about, espied a solitary lighted window. Riding 
thither, he raised himself in his stirrups and, reaching up, 
tapped upon the panes ; and, in a while, the casement 
was opened and a man peered forth, a drowsy being, 
touzled of head and round of eye. 

"Pray," said Barnabas, "what village is this? " 

" Why, sir," answered the man, " five an' forty year 
I 've lived here, and always heard as it was called 

" Headcorn," said Barnabas, nodding, " then Ashley- 
down should be near here? " 

" Why, sir," said the man, nodding in turn, " I do 
believe you — leastways it were here about yesterday." 

" And where is it? " 

" Half a mile back down the road, you must ha' passed 
it, sir. A great house it be though inclined to ruination. 
And it lays back from the road wi' a pair o' gates — 
iron gates as is also ruinated, atween two stone pillars 
wi' a lion a-top of each, leastways if it ain't a lion it 's 
a griffin, which is a fab'lous beast. And talking of beasts, 
sir, I do believe as that theer dratted child don't never 
mean to sleep no more. Good night to ye, sir — and may 
you sleep better a-nights than a married man wi' seven 
on 'em." Saying which, he nodded, sighed, and vanished. 

So back rode Barnabas the way he had come, and 


Barnabas Rides Another Race 561 

presently, sure enough, espied the dim outlines of the two 
stone columns each with " a lion a-top," and between these 
columns swung a pair of rusted iron gates ; and the gates 
were open, seeing which Barnabas frowned and set his 
teeth, and so turned to ride between the gates, but, even 
as he did so, he caught the sound of wheels far down the 
road. Glancing thither he made out the twinkling lights 
of an approaching chaise, and sat awhile to watch its 
slow progress, then, acting upon sudden impulse, he 
spurred to meet it. Being come within hail he reined 
in across the road, and drawing a pistol levelled it at 
the startled post-boy. 

" Stop ! " cried Barnabas. 

Uttering a frightened oath, the postilion pulled up with 
a jerk, but as the chaise came to a standstill a window 
rattled down. Then Barnabas lowered the pistol, and 
coming up beside the chaise looked down into the troubled 
face of my Lady Cleone. And her cheeks were very pale 
in the light of the lanterns, and upon her dark lashes was 
the glitter of tears. 



"You! Is it you — Barnabas?" she whispered and 
thereafter sighed, a long, quivering sigh. "I — I 've been 
hoping you would come ! " 

And now, as he looked at her, he saw that her cheeks 
were suffused, all at once, with a warm and vivid color. 

" Hoped? " said Barnabas, wondering. 

" And — prayed ! " she whispered. 

" Then, you expected me? You knew I should come? " 

" Yes, Barnabas. I — I hoped you would see my — ■ 
letter to Ronald — that was why I wrote it ! And I 
prayed that you might come — " 


" Because I — oh, Barnabas, I 'm afraid ! " 

" You were going to — Chichester? " 

" Yes, Barnabas." 

"You don't — love him, do you? " 

" Love him ! " she repeated, " Oh, God ! " 

And Barnabas saw her shudder violently. 

" Yet you were going to him." 

" To save my brother. But now — God help me, I 
can't do it ! Oh, it 's too hateful and — and I am afraid, 
Barnabas. I ought to have been at Ashleydown an hour 
ago, but oh, I — I could n't, it was too horrible — I 
could n't ! So I came the longest way ; I made the post- 
boy drive very slowly, I — I was waiting — for you, 
Barnabas, praying God that you would come to me — " 

"Because you — were afraid, my lady." 

" Yes. Barnabas." 

The Harder Course 563 

" And behold, I am here ! " said Barnabas. But now, 
seeing the quiver of her white hands, and the light in her 
eyes — a sudden glow that was not of the lanterns, he 
turned his head and looked resolutely away. 

" I am here, my lady, to take you back home again," 
said he. 

"Home?" she repeated. "Ah, nO, no — I have no 
home, now ! Oh, Barnabas," she whispered, " take me, 
take me away — to my brother. Let us go away from 
England to-night — anywhere, take me with you, 

Now, as she spoke, her hands came out to him with a 
swift gesture, full of passionate entreaty. And the lan- 
terns made a shining glory of her hair, and showed him 
the deep wonder of her eyes, the quick surge of her round, 
young bosom, the tender quiver of the parted lips as she 
waited his answer; thus our Barnabas beholding the 
witchery of her shy-drooping lashes, the scarlet lure of 
her mouth, the yielding warmth and all the ripe beauty 
of her, fell suddenly a-trembling and sighed; then, check- 
ing the sigh, looked away again across the dim desolation 
of the country-side, and clenched his hands. 

" My lady," said he, his voice hoarse and uncertain, 
" why do you — tempt me ? I am only — an amateur 
gentleman — why do you tempt me so?" As he spoke 
he wheeled his horse and motioned to the flinching post- 
boy. " Turn ! " he commanded. 

" No ! " cried Cleone. 

' Turn ! " said Barnabas, and, as the post-boy hesi- 
tated, levelled his pistol. 

But now, even as the postilion chirruped to his horses, 
the chaise door was flung open and Cleone sprang down 
into the road; but even so, Barnabas barred her way. 

" Let me pass ! " she cried. 

" To Chichester? " 

" Yes — God help me. Since you force me to it ! 
Let me go ! " 

" Get back into the chaise, my ladv." 

564 The Amateur Gentleman 

" No, no ! Let me pass, I go to save my brother — " 

" Not this way ! " 

" Oh ! " she cried passionately, " you force it upon me, 
yes — you ! you ! If you won't help me, I must go to 
him ! Dear heaven ! there is no other way, let me go — 
you must — you shall ! " 

" Go back into the chaise, my lady." 

Barnabas spoke very gently but, as she stared up at 
him, a movement of his horse brought him into the light 
of the lanterns and, in that moment, her breath caught, 
for now she beheld him as she had seen him once before, 
a wild, desperate figure, bare-headed, torn, and splashed 
with mud; grim of mouth, and in his eyes a look she 
had once dreamed of and never since forgotten. And, as 
she gazed, Barnabas spoke again and motioned with his 
pistol hand. 

" Get back into the chaise, my lady." 

" No ! " she answered, and, though her face was hidden 
now, he knew that she was weeping. " I 'm going on, 
now — to Ashleydown, to save Ronald, to redeem the 
promise I gave our mother ; I must, I must, and oh — 
nothing matters to me — any more, so let me go ! " 

" My lady," said Barnabas, in the same weary tone, 
" you must get back into the chaise." 

" And let Ronald die — and such a death ! Never ! 
oh never ! " 

Barnabas sighed, slipped the pistol into his pocket 
and dismounted, but, being upon his feet, staggered ; then, 
or ever she knew, he had caught her in his arms, being 
minded to bear her to the chaise. But in that moment, 
he looked down and so stood there, bound by the spell 
of her beauty, forgetful of all else in the world, for the 
light of the lanterns was all about them, and Cleone's eyes 
were looking up into his. 

" Barnabas," she whispered, " Barnabas, don't let me 
go ! — save me from — that ! " 

" Ah, Cleone," he murmured, " oh, my lady, do you 
doubt me still? Can you think that I should fail you? 

The Harder Course 565 

Oh, my dear, my dear — I 've found a way, and mine is 
a better way than yours. Be comforted the'l and trust 
me, Cleone." 

Then, she stirred in his embrace, and, sighing, hid her 
face close against him and, with her face thus hidden, 
spoke : 

" Yes, yes — I do trust you, Barnabas, utterly, utterly ! 
Take me away with you — to-night, take me to Ronald 
and let us go away together, no matter where so long 
as — we go — together, Barnabas." Now when she said 
this, she could feel how his arms tightened about her, 
could hear how his breath caught sudden and sharp, and, 
though she kept her face hid from him, well she knew 
what look was in his eyes; therefore she lay trembling 
a little, sighing a little, and with fast-beating heart. And, 
in a while, Barnabas spoke: 

" My lady," said he heavily, " would you trust your- 
self to — a publican's son?" 

" If he would not be — too proud to — take me, 

" Oh, my lady — can't you see that if I — if I take you 
with me to-night, you must be with me — always ? " 

Cleone sighed. 

" And I am a discredited impostor, the — the jest of 
every club in London ! " 

Cleone's hand stole up, and she touched his grimly- 
set chin very gently with one white finger. 

" I am become a thing for the Fashionable World to 
sharpen its wits upon," he continued, keeping his stern 
gaze perseveringly averted. " And so, my lady — be- 
cause I cannot any longer cheat folks into accepting 
me as a — gentleman, I shall in all probability become 
a farmer, some day." 

Cleone sighed. 

" But you," Barnabas continued, a little harshly, " you 
were born for higher and greater fortune than to become 
the wife of a humble farming fellow, and consequently — " 

" But I can make excellent butter, Barnabas," she 

566 The Amateur Gentleman 

sighed, stealing a glance up to him, " and I can cook 
— a little." 

Now when she said this, he must needs look down at 
her again and lo ! there, at the corner of her mouth was 
the ghost of the dimple! And, beholding this, seeing 
the sudden witchery of her swift-drooping lashes, Bar- 
nabas forgot his stern resolutions and stooped his head, 
that he might kiss the glory of her hair. But, in that 
moment, she turned, swift and sudden, and yielded him 
her lips, soft, and warm, and passionate with youth and 
all the joy of life. And borne away upon that kiss, it 
seemed to Barnabas, for one brief, mad-sweet instant that 
all things might be possible; if they started now they 
might reach London in the dawn and, staying only for 
Barrymaine, be aboard ship by evening! And it was a 
wide world, a very fair world, and with this woman be- 
side him — 

" It would be so — so very easy ! " said he, slowly. 

" Yes, it will be very easy ! " she whispered. 

" Too easy ! " said he, beginning to frown, " you are 
so helpless and lonely, and I want you so bitterly, Cleone ! 
Yes, it would be very easy. But you taught me once, that 
a man must ever choose the harder way, and this is the 
harder way, to love you, to long for you, and to bid you 
■ — good-by ! " 

"Oh! Barnabas?" 

" Ah, Cleone, you could make the wretchedest hut a 
paradise for me, but for you, ah, for you it might some 
day become only a hut, and I, only a discredited Amateur 
Gentleman, after all." 

Then Barnabas sighed and thereafter frowned, and so 
bore her to the chaise and setting her within, closed the 

" Turn ! " he cried to the postilion. 


But the word was lost in the creak of wheels and 
stamping of hoofs as the chaise swung round; then 
Barnabas remounted and, frowning still, trotted along 

The Harder Course 567 

beside it. Now in a while, lifting his sombre gaze towards 
a certain place beside the way, he beheld the dim outline 
of a finger-post, a very ancient finger-post which (though 
it was too dark to read its inscription) stood, he knew, 
with wide-stretched arms pointing the traveller: 


And being come opposite the finger-post, he ordered the 
post-boy to stop, for, small with distance, he caught the 
twinkling lights of lanterns that swung to and fro, and, 
a moment later, heard a hail, faint and far, yet a sten- 
torian bellow there was no mistaking. Therefore coming 
close beside the chaise, he stooped down and looked 
within, and thus saw that Cleone leaned in the further 
corner with her face hidden in her hands. 

"You are safe, now, my lady," said he, "the Bo'sun 
is coming, the Captain will be here very soon." 

But my lady never stirred. 

" You are safe now," he repeated, " as for Ronald, if 
Chichester's silence can save him, you need grieve no more, 

" Ah ! " she cried, glancing up suddenly, " what do you 
mean? " 

" That I must go, my lady, and — and — oh, my dear 
love, this harder way — is very Hard to tread. If — we 
should meet no more after to-night, remember that I 
loved you — as I always have done and always must, 
humble fellow though I am. Yes, I think I love you as 
well as any fine gentleman of them all, and — Cleone — 

" Barnabas," she cried, " tell me what you mean to do 
— oh, Barnabas, where are you going? " And now she 
reached out her hands a§ though to stay him. But, 
even so, he drew away, and, wheeling his horse, pointed 
towards the twinkling lights. 

" Drive on ! " he cried to the post-boy. 

" Barnabas, wait ! " 

" Drive on ! " he cried, " whip — spur ! " 

568 The Amateur Gentleman 

" Barnabas, stay ! Oh, Barnabas, listen — " 
But as Cleone strove desperately to open the door, 
the chaise lurched forward, the horses broke into a gallop, 
and Barnabas, sitting there beneath the ancient finger- 
post, saw imploring hands stretched out towards him, 
heard a desolate cry, and — he was alone. So Barnabas 
sat there amid the gloom, and watched Happiness go 
from him. Very still he sat until the grind of wheels had 
died away in the distance; then he sighed, and spurring 
his jaded horse, rode back towards Headcorn. 

And thus did Barnabas, in his folly, forego great joy, 
and set aside the desire of his heart that he might tread 
that Harder Way, which yet can be trod only by the foot 
of — A Man. 



A distant clock was striking the hour as Barnabas rode 
in at the rusted gates of Ashleydown and up beneath an 
avenue of sombre trees beyond which rose the chimneys 
of a spacious house, clear and plain against the palpi- 
tating splendor of the stars. But the house, like its sur- 
roundings, wore a desolate, neglected look, moreover it 
was dark, not a light was to be seen anywhere from attic 
to cellar. Yet, as Barnabas followed the sweep of the 
avenue, he suddenly espied a soft glow that streamed from 
an uncurtained window giving upon the terrace; there- 
fore he drew rein, and dismounting, led his horse in among 
the trees and, having tethered him there, advanced towards 
the gloomy house, his gaze upon the lighted window, and 
treading with an ever growing caution. 

Now, as he went, he took out one of the pistols, cocked 
it, and with it ready in his hand, came to the window and 
peered into the room. 

It was a long, low chamber with a fireplace at one end* 
and here, his frowning gaze bent upon the blazing logs, 
sat Mr. Chichester. Upon the small table at his elbow 
were decanter and glasses, with a hat and gloves and a 
long travelling cloak. As Barnabas stood there Mr. 
Chichester stirred impatiently, cast a frowning glance at. 
the clock in the corner and reaching out to the bell-rope 
that hung beside the mantel, jerked it viciously, and so- 
fell to scowling at the fire again until the door opened 
and a bullet-headed, square-shouldered fellow entered, a 
formidable ruffian with pugilist written in his every 
feature; to whom Mr. Chichester appeared to give ceir- 

57° The Amateur Gentleman 

tain commands; and so dismissed him with an impatient 
gesture of his slim, white hands. As the door closed, Mr. 
Chichester started up and fell to pacing the floor only 
to return, and, flinging himself back in his chair, sat 
scowling at the fire again. 

Then Barnabas raised the pistol-butt and, beating in 
the window, loosed the catch, and, as Mr. Chichester 
sprang to his feet, opened the casement and stepped into 
the room. 

For a long moment neither spoke, while eyes met and 
questioned eyes, those of Barnabas wide and bright, Mr. 
Chichester's narrowed to shining slits. And indeed, as 
they fronted each other thus, each was the opposite of 
the other, Barnabas leaning in the window, his pistol 
hand hidden behind him, a weary, bedraggled figure mired 
from heel to head; Mr. Chichester standing rigidly erect, 
immaculate of dress from polished boot to snowy cravat. 

" So," said he at last, breaking the ominous silence, 
" so it 's — yes, it is Mr. — Barty, I think, unpleasantly 
damp and devilish muddy, and, consequently, rather more 
objectionable than usual." 

" I have ridden far, and the roads were bad," said 

" Ah! and pray why inflict yourself upon me? " 

" For a very good arid sufficient reason, sir." 

" Ha, a reason? " said Mr. Chichester, lounging against 
the mantel. " Can it be you have discerned at last that 
the highly dramatic meeting between father and son at 
a certain banquet, not so long ago, was entirely contrived 
by myself — that it was my hand drove you from society 
and made you the derision of London, Mr. Barty? " 

" Why, yes," sighed Barnabas ; " I guessed that much, 

" Indeed, I admire your perspicacity, Mr. Barty. And 
now, I presume you have broken into my house with some 
brutal idea of pummelling me with your fists? But, sir, 
I am no prizefighter, like you and your estimable father, 
and I warn you that — " 

Ronald Squares his Account 571 

" Sir," said Barnabas softly, " do not trouble to ring 
the bell, my mission here is — not to thrash you." 

"No? Gad, sir, but you're very forbearing, on my 
soul you are!" and Mr. Chichester smiled; but his nos- 
trils were twitching as his fingers closed upon the bell- 
rope. " Now understand me — having shown up your im- 
posture, having driven you from London, I do not propose 
to trouble myself further with you. True, you have 
broken into my house, and sho